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Brian Crozier Masterclass


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  • 1. Masterclass / Skill Session Meeting Room 2 Developing an Exhibition: how do we go about it? Brian Crozier Co-principal, Crozier Schutt Associates museum consultants
  • 2. Brian Crozier MAGSQ Conference 2011 Mackay
  • 3. Collections to exhibitions: the whole package
    • What is the difference between:
    • Storage
    • Open storage
    • An exhibition?
  • 4. Storage…
    • Stored for efficient access
    • Stored to maximise conservation outcomes
    • Like with like, not themes
    • Store labels only
    Queensland Museum, Social History
  • 5. Open storage…
    • Storage but viewable
    • Probably types of object
    • Probably not themed
    • Labelled
    • Not designed
    • Probably no interpretive panels
    Queensland Museum Inquiry Centre
  • 6. Exhibition
    • Telling a story
    • Themed
    • A variety of objects but not so many as to crowd
    • Balanced use of interpretive techniques – labels, images, maybe other media, interactives
    • Full suite of labels
    MacArthur Museum, Brisbane
  • 7. Walking while chewing gum…
    • Museums do more than one thing at once and they need space to do them in
    • The 40:40:20 rule – balanced activities
    • Making room for thematic, changing exhibitions
    • Making room for collection work and administration and reception
    “ Queensland Icons”. Qld Museum, 2006
  • 8. Theming
    • What categories of objects and images does your museum hold?
    • What stories can you tell?
    • What are your key objects?
    Watch presented to Sister Annie Miller by the Duke of Edinburgh, 1868, after he was wounded in an assassination attempt. Nursing Museum
  • 9. Collection management supports exhibitions
    • Exhibitions grow more easily from well documented, accessible collections:
    • Donor interviews
    • Good descriptions
    • Accessible objects and information
    • Subject files
    • The story of two emu eggs
    Candlestick holder, NMA
  • 10. What is an exhibition?
    • A lot of stuff?
    • No stuff?
    • Objects and images linked by a theme
    • Interpretation and communication aided by design
    South Burnett Energy Centre, Nanango
  • 11. Labels are the bones
    • Think of exhibitions working through three sets of labels
    • The front label (what the exhibition is about)
    • Sub-theme labels (paragraphs in the story)
    • Object and image labels (how the objects and images relate to the theme set out in the front label)
    “ Sharing their legacy”. Queensland Museum, 2005
  • 12. What makes a good exhibition?
    • Think about
    • Good exhibitions you have seen – what was good about them?
    • Exhibitions you have been involved with – what worked and what didn’t?
    • How much is enough (space, objects, stories)?
    “ The courage of ordinary men”, QM 2008: 6 objects!
  • 13. How are exhibitions different?
    • How is an exhibition different from
    • A book
    • A film
    • A television documentary
    • A live performance?
    • A blend of mediums…
    • Levels of communication – information, emotions, tactile objects, sounds, colours, mood, tone…
    “ Women of the West”, Queensland Museum1993
  • 14. Practicalities: exhibition development
    • It helps to have a process…
    • Consultation through reference groups
    • Clearly defined roles
    • Clear stages of development
    • Someone has to drive it
  • 15. Practicalities: the process
    • The content kit:
    • The exhibition without the design
    • A brief for the designer
    • Labels and images
    • What about media?
    • Interactives?
  • 16. Practicalities: laying out the exhibition
    • The importance of space – give it room, less is more
    • Communicating themes – front panel to sub-theme labels to object/image labels
    • Integration of elements to tell a story
    • Reference points: panels, key items or images
    • Circulation routes
  • 17. Practicalities: panels
    • Panels are possible!
    • Panels inform, punctuate, separate, structure, brighten
    • How to design a panel: Brian’s Ringsfield House effort
  • 18. Practicalities: labelling
    • Labels are the core - they’re where the information is
    • Types of labels:
      • Front
      • Sub-theme
      • Object/image
    • How long?
    • Who for?
    • The label structure: it’s like a newspaper article
      • Headline
      • Topic paragraph
      • Body text
  • 19. Practicalities: labelling
    • Write your own…
  • 20. More information and all or most of the handouts for this workshop are available from our website: