WHO WILLDESIGN YOUR EXHIBIT?Find a design firm:• On the internet general search• NAI Resources Page• AZA .org (Find Commercial Members)• MuseumsUSA.org (Find by state)• Find an exhibit you like and ask who did the design or fabricationOr design it yourself!Just make sure the designer knowsabout interpretation!
LOOK AT OTHER MUSEUMSARKANSAS STATE, JONESBORO
TALK TO PEOPLEU OF M, IRIS CONSORTIUM, SMITHSONIAN
THE BIG IDEAThe Big Idea is a statement that willclarify, limit and focus the nature andscope of an exhibition and provide awell balanced goal against which torate its success.
THE BIG IDEAIt should not be vague or compound.It should be one idea — not four.It answers the question, “So what?”It is not always visible to viewer.Use this question for any topic or item beingconsidered for the exhibit, “ How does this fitwith the Big Idea.” If it doesn’t fit, eliminate thetopic or item.
THE BIG IDEAVS. TOPICSSharks vs. Sharks are notwhat you think.Swamps vs. Healthy swamps providesurprising benefits to humans.
WHAT MAKESA GOOD EXHIBIT?It captures the viewer’s attentionlong enough to get them torecognize the Big Idea.If you include the Big Idea in yourtitle, you have a better chance ofpeople getting it.
THE VIEWER DOES NOT ALWAYS LOOK ATTHE EXHIBIT FROM START TO FINISHWhich visitor has a better chanceof getting the Big Idea?
THE INTERPRETIVEPLAN IS YOUR ROAD MAPAfter research is complete, assemblestakeholders to conduct a designcharette.Brainstorm on the Big Idea.This is the beginning of yourInterpretive Plan.
WHAT IS INTERPRETATION?Interpretation is more than presentinginformation. It is more than encouragingparticipation. It is communicationbetween a guide (or a story on a panel)and an interested listener or viewer.
THE INTERPRETIVEPLAN IS YOUR ROAD MAP• Interpretive Plan will include:• Mission and Vision of Institution• Management Goals• Interpretive Exhibit Mission• Exhibition Goals and Objectives• Visitor Walk-Aways
THE INTERPRETIVEPLAN IS YOUR ROAD MAP• Marketing to the Targe Audience• Up to Five Subthemes and Storylines• The Visitor Experience• A Description of Each Panel• The Site or Floor Plan
THE INTERPRETIVEPLAN IS YOUR ROAD MAPIf you would like a sampleinterpretive plan to use asa guide, please firstname.lastname@example.orgAlso, we will be happy to sendyou a copy of this PowerPoint.
CREATE A HIERARCHYOF INFORMATIONThe title (I) states the theme.Up to five subthemes (II) support the theme.The main text follows with photos orillustrations (III).Captions or bullets add another level (IV).Finally, you give readers a level to act on theirnew knowledge (V).
DID YOU KNOW?The maximum averageattention span for a museum 45visitor is just seconds.For zoos, it is even less
3-30-3 RULE Most visitors will look at a sign forat least 3 seconds. You’ve got tograb them quickly.Some will read on for 30 seconds.A few will read for 3 minutes.More detailed information can bein smaller type for this group.
HELP YOUR VISITORSAVOID SIGN FATIGUE No more than 50 words in a blurb, • 18-20 words in a sentence• Line length: less than 60 characters• Avoid hyphenation• Break text into several blurbs with subhead. Add extra leading for breathing room. People won’t read crowded text.• Direct them to your web site for long explanations.
HELP YOUR VISITORSAVOID SIGN FATIGUE Keep text at sixth to eighth grade reading level. • Go to Spelling & Grammar in Word to test the readability.• Titles should be 72 point minimum. Subtitles should be 48 to 40 point minimum. Body text should be 24 point minimum. Captions should be 18 point minimum.• Use flush left, ragged right text. Avoid justified text.
HELP YOURVISITORSSay it visually. Forevery blurb youconsider, ask yourself,can a visual say itbetter with maps,photos, or illustrations(of course, always getcopyright permissionand list proper credit).
TRY ONE THOUGHT SIGNS• Clever headline. Text under 50 words.• Text at least 24 point, captions at least 18 point.• Large enough to be read by any age.• Placed for wheelchair accessibility.
TRY ONE THOUGHT SIGNSSix signs spaced evenly over long rail viewingarea increase readability.
TRY ONE THOUGHT SIGNSLet the visual reinforce the text.
TRY ONE THOUGHT SIGNSScript text adds emphasis.
TRY ONE THOUGHT SIGNSBullet points make type easier to read.
TRY ONE THOUGHT SIGNSArrows help comprehension.
UNITY: COLORUse one color palette throughout an exhibit.
UNITY: FONTSUse consistent sets of fonts for all signs (no more than3). Keep font sizes consistent
UNITY: LAYOUTKeep design elements and placement consistent
UNITY: LINESKeep all elements at same level if signswill be placed next to each other.
UNITY: ILLUSTRATIONKeep illustration styles consistent. Mix with photos.
UNITY: PATTERNUse a background pattern to tie elements together.
READABILITY:SERIF OR SANS SERIF?Ingomar Mounds, Union County Historical Museum, New Albany, MS
WHERE TO FIND PHOTOSAND ILLUSTRATIONS• istockphoto.com, dreamstime.com, shutterstock.com• Library of Congress (free)• Shorpy Digital Images historic images• forestryimages.com (free)• National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife (free)• North Wind Picture Archives• Flickr• Google search for images• WikipediaIllustrators• Vicki Piebenga, email@example.com• David Williams, NC www.winginitworks.com• Chris Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org
READABILITY:HOW HIGH UP?• No text should be lower than 24 inches off the floor• 84 inches off floor should be top range for any text• Titles should be 12 inches above eye level (81”)• Headers between 54” and 66”
READABILITY:HOW HIGH UP?If you need to puttext in a lowposition, considera reader board ata 45-degreeangle.
READABILITY:BILINGUAL LABELS• Will more than double your text space on sign• Not recommended unless required by law• Instead, try handing out laminated cards of labels• Or only translate some labels for important items• Or only part (ID info) and not whole label• Consider audio tours where you can include several languages
READABILITY:AUDIO LABELS Hand-held • devices or the person’s own SmartPhone• Allow the visitor to keep their eyes on the object while listening• Available in multiple languages• They can isolate visitors from interacting• Malfunctions can be annoying• They can cause traffic jams
READABILITY:ITEM REMOVEDIf an object has to be removed, for loan orconservation purposes, and the caption isstill there, it is thoughtful to put up aphotograph of the piece that is missingwith a note about where it is.
READABILITY:CREDIT PANELSA credit panel should beincluded in any exhibit.They don’t have to bebronze but it is good forreference and morale tosee the names in printof those who worked onthe exhibit.
HELP YOUR VISITORSAVOID SIGN FATIGUEStudies show there are 3 ways:• Make the exhibits visual• Make them three dimensional• Make them interactive
3D: MAKE EXHIBIT TACTILEAdd tiny bronze critters to rail of an exhibit. This was oneof several at Philadelphia Zoo that showed the diet ofthe animal in the exhibit. Children were given a list andwere told to find the 8 critters hiding in the exhibit.
3D: MAKE EXHIBIT TACTILECentral High School site mounted a phoneto exhibit to provide emphasis.
3D: MAKE EXHIBIT TACTILEHeifer Intl. gives visitors opportunities to touchthe items that they tell stories about.