Nema Conf. Revised3


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Presentation (Exhibitions: Interpretative or Comme morative?" at the New England Museum Association Conference - Nov. 2008

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Nema Conf. Revised3

  1. 1. Exhibitions: Commemorative or Interpretative? John Quatrale Stephen Kenney Maureen Melton New England Museum Association Annual Conference – November 13, 2008
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Introduction to Exhibition Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Commemorative vs. Interpretative </li></ul><ul><li>Our Common Wealth: The Massachusetts Experience in Democracy </li></ul><ul><li>Preserving History, Making History: The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston </li></ul><ul><li>Audience Survey – WaterWorks Museum </li></ul><ul><li>Tips and Suggestions </li></ul><ul><li>Questions & Answers </li></ul>
  3. 3. Museum Exhibition Definitions <ul><li>&quot;An exhibition is a means of communication aiming at large groups of the public with the purpose of conveying information, ideas and emotions relating to the material evidence of man and his surroundings with the aid of chiefly visual and dimensional methods.&quot;--Jan Verhaar and Han Meeter To be successful, an exhibition must be both &quot;insightful and inspirational&quot;. -- Harold Skramstad, co-author of A Handbook for Museum Trustees </li></ul>
  4. 4. 7. Evaluation & Revisions 6. Opening 5. Installation & Purchases 4. Fabrication & Production 3. Final Design 2. Design Development <ul><li>Concept & </li></ul><ul><li>Planning </li></ul>Exhibition Plan
  5. 5. Concept and Planning Stage <ul><li>Ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Overall Goals </li></ul><ul><li>Objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Timeframe </li></ul><ul><li>Target audience </li></ul><ul><li>Schedule </li></ul><ul><li>Lead Developer </li></ul><ul><li>Themes/ & Storylines </li></ul><ul><li>Type & Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Working titles </li></ul><ul><li>Working Budget </li></ul><ul><li>Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Write Plan </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Commemorative </li></ul><ul><li>Celebratory </li></ul><ul><li>What </li></ul><ul><li>Didactic </li></ul><ul><li>Information </li></ul><ul><li>Answers </li></ul><ul><li>Factual </li></ul><ul><li>Dogmatic </li></ul><ul><li>Telling </li></ul><ul><li>Showing </li></ul><ul><li>Memorial </li></ul><ul><li>Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretative </li></ul><ul><li>Exploratory </li></ul><ul><li>Why </li></ul><ul><li>Non-didactic </li></ul><ul><li>Thoughtful analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul><ul><li>Informed Opinions </li></ul><ul><li>Point of view </li></ul><ul><li>Listening </li></ul><ul><li>Explaining </li></ul><ul><li>Edgy </li></ul><ul><li>Learning & Thinking </li></ul>
  7. 7. Interpretative Exhibition <ul><li>Our Common Wealth: The Massachusetts Experiment in Democracy </li></ul>
  8. 8. Commemorative Exhibition <ul><li>Preserving History, Making History: The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston </li></ul>
  9. 9. WaterWorks Museum <ul><li>Audience Survey </li></ul>
  10. 10. Tips and Suggestions <ul><li>It always takes longer than you think – plan accordingly </li></ul><ul><li>A good planning and concept phase will greatly facilitate the implementation </li></ul><ul><li>Figure out who the audience is and plan the exhibition with them in mind </li></ul><ul><li>You can never spend too much time figuring out what your visitors want and need </li></ul><ul><li>Most visitors will only spend a short time in your exhibition </li></ul><ul><li>Limit text as much as possible – many visitors will not read extensive text </li></ul><ul><li>Keep in mind that exhibitions are chiefly about learning and entertaining experiences – find ways to help people to learn in an interesting way </li></ul><ul><li>Limit your written text to what is essential </li></ul>
  11. 11. Tips and Suggestions <ul><li>Remember that revisions are often necessary after the exhibition opens </li></ul><ul><li>A good design (placement of objects, materials, heights and widths, colors, comfort, etc.) is just as important as the content </li></ul><ul><li>Think like a visitor </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the needs of visitors with disabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Provide as much comfortable seating, if possible and practical </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure written labels are legible for all visitors </li></ul><ul><li>Convey information and showcase art/artifacts in a variety of ways </li></ul><ul><li>Check and double-check all text and have text reviewed by others </li></ul><ul><li>Only choose the art, artifacts and materials that best tell your stories </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Questions and Answers </li></ul>
  13. 13. Summary <ul><li>Plan, design and develop exhibitions so that your visitors are comfortable, happy and want to come back </li></ul>
  14. 14. Exhibitions: Commemorative or Interpretative? John Quatrale Stephen Kenney Maureen Melton