Exhibitions require a large degree of management and administrative effort, in addition to the collection and production activities. Museum administrators deal with many matters. These relate to the daily operations of the facility, personnel management, public relations, and financial and educational accountability. Among the administrative tasks are several that relate directly to exhibition planning and production. These are: • scheduling and contracting for exhibitions • contracting for services • production and resource management • documentation and registration • publicity and marketing
Exhibitions are projects. They have definite beginnings and ends. Between are a certain number of activities that must take place to accomplish the project goal. That goal is the product-the exhibition itself. Exhibitions occupy space and require resources to produce, operate, and maintain. There are two kinds of exhibition projects. They are defined on the basis of their duration: • those of fixed length called temporary exhibitions • those of indefinite length called permanent exhibitions
Typically, temporary exhibitions are on display for one year or less. However, “temporary” is subject to interpretation and can mean longer periods as well. Anything longer than three years is usually considered a long-term or “permanent” exhibition. Such rules are arbitrary and each institution may have its own definitions. It is important, however, that the definitions be clearly understood as they relate to the use of collection objects. Some objects are only suitable for short-term exposure to the exhibit environment-six months at best. The term “temporary” needs to reflect such constraints.