All museum activities converge in the very public forum of the exhibition. Whether large or small, exhibitions are responsible for driving museum attendance and revenue as well as showcasing new research and engaging audiences in new ideas. As museums move from a transmission to a visitor-centered model, exhibitions are more experience driven, participatory, and interactive, built around multiple perspectives and powerful storytelling. The exhibition development process is more complex than ever as audiences demand more dynamic, diverse and inclusive experiences. Museum leaders, interpretive planners, designers, and curators are rising to the challenges in innovative ways.
This manual details the exhibition process in a straightforward way that can be easily adapted by institutions of any size. It explores the exhibition planning and development process in a wealth of detail, providing the technical and practical methodologies museum professionals need today. This 3rd edition includes many new features and expanded chapters on evaluation, virtual exhibitions multimedia, travelling exhibition, curiosity and motivation, DEAI (diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion), while retaining the essential content related to interpretive planning, roles and responsibility, and content development. New and exciting case studies, exhibition examples, and more than 200 color photos and figures illustrate every step of the process. No museum or museum professional can be without this critical guide to an essential function.
Maria Piacente has spent more than 25 years in the global cultural sector, specializing in interpretive planning, exhibition development, and project management for cultural projects of all sizes, ranging in scope from art to science to history. Formerly the Vice President of Exhibitions and Events with Lord Cultural Resources, Maria is currently the Senior Vice President for Exhibitions and Galleries at the Royal Ontario Museum.
1.Introduction: The Exhibition Planning Process by Maria Piacente
Part I: Why?
2. Museums and their Exhibitions by Brad King
2.1. The Trust Factor
2.2. Exhibitions as Communication Platforms
2.3. Museums as Activist Institutions
2.4. The Way Forward
3. Where Do Exhibition Ideas Come From? by Barry Lord and Maria Piacente
3.1. Research-Based and Market-Driven Exhibitions
3.2. Planning for Exhibition Research
Part II: Where?
4. Exhibition Facilities by Sean Stanwick and Heather Maximea
4.1. A World of Exhibition Spaces
4.2. Design Criteria for Exhibition Spaces
4.3. Exhibition Space Characteristics
4.4. Exhibition Gallery Security
4.5. Accessibility, Adjacency and Flow
Part III: What?
5. Permanent Collection Displays by Katherine Molineux
5.1. Planning for Permanent Collection Exhibitions
5.2. Changing Permanent Collection Displays
5.3. Interpreting Collections
5.4. Modes of Display
6. It’s Not Always About Collections by Katherine Molineux
6.1. Idea Exhibitions
6.2. Children’s Exhibitions
6.3. Living History Exhibitions
6.4. Science Exhibitions
6.5. Digital Immersive Exhibitions
Case Study: Weston Innovation Learning Centre, Terms of Engagement at the Ontario Science Centre, by Lesley Lewis and Kevin von Apen
7.Virtual Exhibitions by Sarah Hill
7.1. What is a Virtual Exhibition?
7.2. Why Develop a Virtual Exhibition?
7.3. Thinking About Digital Audiences
7.4. Virtual Exhibition Considerations
7.5. Virtual Exhibition Development Process
7.6. Tips for Smaller Museums that Want to go Digital
Case Study: Extending the Life of a Travelling Exhibition, Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, United States
8. Temporary Exhibitions by Maria Piacente and Katherine Molineux
8.1. Types of Exhibitions in a Temporary Exhibition Program
8.2. Managing a Temporary Exhibition Program
8.3. Making Space for Temporary Exhibitions
8.4. Public and Educational Programming
8.5. Marketing and Public Relations
8.6. Funding and Resourcing a Temporary Exhibition Program
8.7. Generating Revenue
9. Travelling Exhibitions by Maria Piacente
9.1. Why Create a Travelling Exhibition Program?
9.2. Strategize for Success
9.3. Staff and Professional Resources
9.4. Loan Agreements
9.5. Designing and Preparing an Exhibition for Travel
9.6. Managing the Tour
9.7. Borrowers and Organizers
Case Study: Natural History Museum London’s Touring Exhibition Program, An Interview with Jan English, Head of Touring Exhibitions
Interview: Travelling Exhibitions in a Changing World, with Antonio Rodriguez, Chairman of the Board, International Committee for Exhibition Exchange (ICEE)
Part IV: Who?
10. Exhibitions and DEAI by Maria Piacente and Karen Carter
10.1. Implications for Exhibitions
10.2. Reflections: Fulfillment of Our Promise
Case Study: Activating Change: DEAI, Community and Evaluation, An Interview with Cheryl Blackman, Director of Museums and Heritage Services for the City of Toronto, Canada
11. Curiosity and Motivation by Shiralee Hudson Hill and Barbara Soren
11.1. Cultivating Curiosity and Activating Change
11.2. Learning and Exhibitions
11.3. Understanding Audience Experiences, Motivations, and Preferences in Exhibitions
12.1. Measuring Success by Gail Lord
12.2. Before, During, and After: Front-End, Formative, Remedial and Summative
12.3. Evaluation by Duncan Grewcock
12.4. Qualitative and Quantitative Audience by Barbara Soren and Jackie Armstrong
Case Study: University of Michigan Museum of Natural History by Barbara Soren
Part V: How?
13. Who is involved in the Exhibition Process? by Maria Piacente
13.1. Roles and Responsibilities
13.2. Teams and Committees
13.3. Contracting Expertise
13.4. Making Decisions
Case Study: Oakland Museum of California Exhibition Process with Valerie Huaco
Case Study: Roles and Responsibilities in a Small Museum: The Central Bank Museum of Trinidad and Tobago
14. Preparing the Exhibition Brief by Maria Piacente
14.1. Formulating the Exhibition Concept
14.2. Exhibition Brief
Case Study: Canada Day 1 Travelling Exhibition
15. Interpretive Planning by Maria Piacente
15.1. Pre-Planning, Research and Visioning
15.2. Interpretive Strategy
15.3. Organizational and Thematic Frameworks
15.4. Organizational and Thematic Frameworks from around the World
15.5. Communication Objectives
15.6. Interpretive Plan
Case Study: University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, Exploring Michigan
Case Study: Interpretive Planning for the Capitol Visitor Center, Exhibition Hall
16. Content Development by Lisa Wright
16.1. Research Planning
16.2. Collections Research and Selection
16.3. Exhibition Text by Patchen Barss
16.4. Image Research and Procurement
16.5. Hands-On Exhibits, Models, and Dioramas
16.6. Multimedia Exhibits
16.7. Subject Matter Experts
Case Study: Working with Subject Matter Experts: Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Case Study: Creating with Community: Bunjilaka Aboriginal Culture Center
Case Study: Indigenous-Led Design and Content Development: Canada’s Diversity Gardens
17. Design by Yvonne Tang and James Bruer
17.1. Exhibition Design
17.2. Exhibition Display Cases by Mike Chaplin
17.3. Lighting Design by Kevin Shaw
17.4. Green Design
Case Study: Exhibitions and Museums
The third edition of Manual of Museum Exhibitions (first edition, 2002) offers a thorough, up-to-date guide for anyone engaged in exhibition processes, from development and design to implementation. These distinct phases of the exhibition process are framed by five interrogative adverbs—why, where, what, who, how—each of which corresponds to a section of the volume, with one or more chapters devoted to answering the question posed therein. The sections address, respectively, the purpose of exhibitions, in particular how museums respond to a changing world and greater community engagement; physical requirements to mount permanent and temporary exhibitions; types of exhibitions (on-site and online) and their content from science to art; ways of understanding visitors and exploring the impact of diversity, equality, accessibility and inclusion on the development process; and the roles, responsibilities, and tasks of the development process. This last section consists of nearly half the chapters and numerous case studies to support the many facets of interpretive planning, design and content coordination, and fabrication and installation that enable exhibitions to realize connections between the visitor, object, and the stories offered or facilitated in exhibitions. This volume will appeal to readers interested in curatorial studies, museology, heritage management, history of collections, library and information sciences, and related fields. Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; professionals.
This new edition provides updated in-depth, practical information on the conception, organization, and creation of museum exhibitions that made earlier versions my textbook of choice for teaching museum studies and a recommended resource for new professionals. Expanded sections on evaluation, interpretative planning, and digital and emerging media bring this edition up-to-date. Placed at the beginning of the book, the editor and authors engage with critical issues of today’s world, including social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion – of museum audiences as well as those within the museum.
As museums continue to expand and deepen their engagement with new and diverse audiences, Maria Piacente's Manual of Museum Exhibitions is essential reading. This book is a well-written and accessible manual for instructors and museum professionals alike. It considers both the practical elements of organizing museum exhibitions and the bigger picture questions of audience and community impact. From the conception phase to program evaluation, this book contains all the information you need to organize dynamic and vibrant museum exhibitions.