chapter  2
It’s about Them: Using Developmental Frameworks to Create Exhibitions for Children (and Their Grown-ups)
By• Elizabeth Reich Rawson | 49
Pages 26

I was educated to understand that if the traditional curatorial perspective for exhibitions were translated into questions, those questions might be, What is this exhibition about? Or, What story am I telling? Exhibitions developed in response to these questions, grounded in literary conventions, can lead to the presentation format commonly referred to as “a book on the walls.” In my experience, the best of these exhibitions are well organized by theme, chronology and/or argument, and utilize various design devices to assist the narrative and to create focus points, modulate the pace of information, and heighten visual drama. However, as long as the exhibition curator’s operative question is, What is this exhibition about? the exhibition development process is likely to yield a product that will fully resonate with a very narrow audience, individuals who have life experiences, educational attainment, and interests similar to the curator’s own. As a curator and exhibition developer at several historic houses and history centers I had opportunities to experiment with introducing some touchable displays and games for children into thematic exhibitions for family audiences, but it was after I accepted a role at Brooklyn Children’s Museum that the foundation of my personal curatorial perspective was shaken.