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Brian Crozier Masterclass


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Brian Crozier Masterclass

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