December 14, 2020

ANCHORAGE, AK – What’s next? The Anchorage Museum posed this question to creatives around the world through Future Ready, an open call for ideas, inventions, images and words that propose how our future selves might survive and thrive amidst global pandemics, natural disasters, climate change and social upheaval. Among the responses from artists, designers, writers and architects: detachable cities, wearable homes, travel-ready shelters, and poetry.

Juan Hurtado Salazar, a design student in Philadelphia, considered food security and clean water in his proposal of new methods for harvesting water and a seed that would be in suspended animation in a museum for as long as the institution endures.

Nick Tobier from Michigan envisioned a telescoping box for apartment windows as a pandemic-safe (touchless and physically distanced) means for socializing and meal sharing with neighbors. He also proposed a DIY street canoe in case of flood or ice storm.

Gandong Cai and Mingjie Cai of China and the United States drafted a “social plug-in plan” with portable augmented reality device that delineates pandemic-safe social territory when mingling in public spaces.

Konstatin Ikonomidis from Denmark built a mobile sled-house inspired by traditional Inuit building techniques that’s ideal for traveling long distances in Arctic regions.

Hanugrah Buwono of Indonesia offered a conceptual “Oceanopolis,” a detachable city that can separate from its land base in response to a man-made or natural threat.

Myrte Van Der Molen of The Netherlands designed a wearable way confront ever-changing social etiquette with body attachments that let you literally wear your feelings or an approximation of them.

Museums lean into social issues and climate change

For museums that see their role as leading conversations around creative solutions to social issues, the challenge in preparing for the future is imaging what it will be like. “Especially in the North, our future looks far different than our yesterday,” says Anchorage Museum Director and CEO Julie Decker. “The impacts of climate change can’t be isolated to one place, but we tend to see the changes first in the North with melting glaciers and changing habitat. As a cultural institution, the Anchorage Museum holds a unique position to facilitate conversations with global and local communities and to be at the forefront of sustainable solutions for future readiness.”

When the question of what it means to be future ready was posed to Anchorage artist Amy Meissner, her first thought was her children. Mother Thought of Everything is a textile project using Tyvek, abandoned quilts, used household protective equipment and other materials to create sewn survival “suits” as a way to imagine what it means for humans to survive as climate change forces us to change our ecosystems and lifeways.

Meissner and her family were photographed wearing the suits in various locations around Anchorage. The images, shot by Anchorage-based photographer Brian Adams, accompany an essay by Meissner reflecting on the concept of time, inner and outer landscapes. Mother Thought of Everything was selected from over 40 entries as the featured project for the Future Ready: Survival Now + Next exhibition, which is now on view online and includes submissions from artists and makers around the world who imagine practical, imaginative and speculative futures.

Future Ready is part of SEED Lab, a project seeking creative responses to climate change and sustainable solutions for Anchorage and the globe. Visit to learn more.


The largest museum in Alaska, the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center tells the story of the North by connecting people, expanding perspectives and encouraging global dialogue about the North and its distinct environment. Learn more at

Image: Social Plug-in Plan by Gandong Cai and Mingjie Cai

Media Contacts

Hank Davis
Communications Manager

Leroy Polk
Communications Manager

Zakiya McCummings
Communications Manager

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