Today’s multi-modal, participatory exhibitions and attractions are bound by a desire to convey information, excite the viewer and create social and narrative experiences. Without design at the helm and employed effectively, these experiential moments would not become lasting memories that inform and inspire an increasingly sophisticated audience.
This full-color illustrated handbook, based on the author’s research and expertise as an exhibition designer, educator, and critic, is the first title to simultaneously
This full-color book with over 250 photographs and drawings uses real-world examples, museum and exhibition design studio profiles, historical and contemporary voices, and draw on the author’s own creative practice and exhibition making experience, as well as contributions from his extensive network of international museum, attraction, and design professionals.
The author introduces a new methodology for understanding exhibition and experience design. One that elevates understanding of one of the most rapidly evolving and trans-disciplinary creative disciplines.
Twelve easy-to-follow illustrated chapters introduce a set of reoccurring exhibition design conventions or “tropes” that are omnipresent in exhibition making and can be used to chart a new methodology for understanding exhibition design and its process.
Timothy J. McNeil is a professor of design and director/curator of the UC Davis Design Museum at the University of California, Davis where he teaches the next generation of exhibition design thinkers and practitioners. He developed and authored the exhibition design curriculum in the department of design and serves as the primary instructor for undergraduate courses on exhibition design and environmental graphic design and is a thesis advisor for graduate students researching exhibition related design theory, criticism, and practice. McNeil’s writing and creative work researches exhibition design history and the methods that define exhibition and experience design practice.
McNeil has 30 years of professional design experience. He is a principal with Muniz/McNeil a multi-disciplinary design and award-winning research practice. Recent projects include the 60,000 sq. ft. Manetti Shrem Museum of Art on the UC Davis campus which opened in November 2016. McNeil spent 15 years as a senior designer at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles developing over 70 exhibition, signage and interpretive environments for the new Getty Center (opened 1997) and the renovation of the Getty Villa (opened 2006). McNeil co-founded Re-envisioning Exhibition Design, an international initiative/lab to advance exhibition and experiential design understanding, elevate professional practice, and create a design-centric forum for debate, analysis, future collaboration and exchange. He has co-curated an international series of summits called Chaos at the Museum which convened over 500 thought leaders, strategists and practitioners from all sides of the exhibition spectrum representing the USA, Asia, Latin America and Europe to address and inform the evolving exhibition design discipline.
McNeil has an MFA in exhibition design from University for the Arts, London. He has been recognized for design excellence by the Society for Experiential Graphic Design, the University and College Designers Association, and the American Alliance of Museums. His design work has been featured and cited in multiple publications and media outlets and is held in the collection of the Getty Research Institute. McNeil is a frequent speaker and presenter at national and international conferences, workshops and educational forums on museum, exhibition, and design issues. He served on the California Association of Museums Board of Directors, has juried international design competitions for the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD), and contributes to critical discourse in the museum and design field. McNeil has written articles on exhibition design for the Exhibitionist: A Journal of Exhibition Development and Design and for Communication and Place: A Journal of Research, Theory, and Practical Criticism of Communication in the Built Environment. He is a contributing author to The Future of Museum and Gallery Design published by Routledge in 2018.
Designer’s Toolbox: Timeline
Designer’s Toolbox: People
Chapter 1: Streaker, Stroller, Studier
Designer’s Toolbox: Narrative
Chapter 2: Once Upon a Timeline
Designer’s Toolbox: Journey
Chapter 3: Exit Through the Gift Shop
Designer’s Toolbox: Form
Chapter 4: Pop-up and Modular
Designer’s Toolbox: Spectacle
Chapter 5: Wow-Moment
Designer’s Toolbox: Atmosphere
Chapter 6: Beyond the White Cube
Designer’s Toolbox: Staging
Chapter 7: Hanging Salon-Style
Designer’s Toolbox: Constraints
Chapter 8: Trapped in Glass Boxes
Designer’s Toolbox: Immersion
Chapter 9: Wraparound Worlds
Designer’s Toolbox: Wonder
Chapter 10: Smoke and Mirrors
Designer’s Toolbox: Communication
Chapter 11: Tombstones and Texts
Designer’s Toolbox: Learning
Chapter 12: Hands-on, Minds-on
Afterward – Call to Action
About the Author
McNeil’s book combines a thoroughly and deeply researched history of significant exhibitions and milestones in the field with contemporary and lively text that is a pleasure to read. Cleverly organized around common design tropes, the book proves to be a comprehensive look at the history of exhibition design right up to the present-day proliferation of various cutting-edge technologies. The book will be welcomed by the field and embraced as foundational in exhibition design curriculums.
This book is accessible to a broad audience and will fill many gaps in understanding exhibition and experience design.
Destined to become essential reading for anyone in the field!
This book is a great addition to museum exhibition literature that deftly uses historical examples to consider current issues and interests.
My mind is blown by how this book intertwines the history and evolution of exhibition design with best practices, pulling from educational, entertainment, and commercial examples.
A gift to the museum field. This book offers new insights into aspects of exhibition design that no one else has brought to the table. The tropes brilliantly organize exhibition design thinking — both for those who do the work, as well as for those who work with exhibitions.
McNeil’s publication is a long overdue compendium of all things experiential and exhibition design! Its’ nuanced methodology and broad exploration of this often-misunderstood creative discipline is celebrated through the diversity of projects he brings to life and their impact to the broader society. This book should be the number one resource for anyone looking to understand the importance of trans-disciplinary design.
1/20/2023, We The Museum- Podcast: