ABSTRACT

Many of the tasks required by exhibit work can be open-ended and indeterminate. A useful theoretical stance that can guide you through many of these processes is that of qualitative inquiry. This methodological orientation assumes that your understanding of your exhibit topic and the best way to create an exhibit structure arise from intense engagement with your material. Thus, your exhibit structure and content become actual extensions of your understanding of its primary materials, along with secondary materials that will ground your exhibit within a larger scholarly framework. The stages of exhibit building that are addressed in this chapter are the value of direct engagement with exhibit materials, how to address feelings of anxiety and insecurity, how to start writing original text, conceptual modeling for your exhibit, including creating its big idea and component themes, and decisions about object placement. This chapter will use an extended example to show how to apply the ideas and strategies of exhibit building, including a list of primary and secondary resources, a sample proposal, and an interface wireframe and final mockup.