Exhibit Design and Development Workbook THC Texas Gov

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TOXEY MCMILLAN DESIGN ASSOCIATES, 218 Washington San Antonio Texas 78204 210 225 7066 www tmdaexhibits com. Exhibit Design Workshop, 2009 Anne Parmly Toxey and Patrick Cavett McMillan All rights reserved. The workshop presentation that accompanies this booklet was supported in part by a grant from the. Institute of Museum and Library Services Any views findings conclusions or recommendations. expressed in this workshop do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library. THC TMDA Exhibit Workshop Handout p 1,Table of Contents Exhibit Design Workshop. Workshop Agenda p 3, Interpretive Exhibit Design Process at a Glance p 4. Exhibit Design Process Part 1 Theme Objectives Interpretation p 5. Exhibit Design Process Part 2 Conceptual Design p 11. Research Design Approaches to exhibit design, Exhibit Design Process Part 3 Design Development p 15.
Space layout Artifact mounting Display cases,Signage Graphics Colors Lighting Film Video. Third Fourth dimensions Output, Exhibit Design Process Part 4 Production Design Budgeting p 33. Scheduling Fabrication Installation Planning Evaluation. Exhibit Design Illustrations p 38,Resources for Further Study p 42. Books and Articles for Exhibit Design Reference,Websites for Exhibit Design Reference. Presenters Authors Profiles p 45,Appendix 1 Conserve O Gram 18 2 August 2004 p 46.
Appendix 2 Recommended Light Levels for Museum Collections p 53. Appendix 3 Suppliers of Preservation and Conservation Materials p 54. Cover image Splash Into the Edwards Aquifer Exhibit Austin Nature and Science Center. finished exhibit with sign mock up, All images presented in this booklet are copyrighted by Toxey McMillan Design. Associated unless otherwise stated,THC TMDA Exhibit Workshop Handout p 2. Exhibit Design Workshop Agenda,8 30 AM Registration. 9 00 AM Welcome, Texas Historical Commission and Texas Association of Museums. 9 10 Introduction, A Overview of the workshop and presenters backgrounds.
B Hands on activity and participant introductions, 9 35 AM Exhibit Design Process Part 1 Theme Objectives Interpretation. A Presentation,B Hands on activity,10 45 AM Break, 11 00 AM Exhibit Design Process Part 2 Conceptual Design. A Presentation,B Hands on activity,12 30 PM Lunch and structured networking. 1 30 PM Exhibit Design Process Part 3 Design Development. A Presentation,1 55 PM B Hands on activity,2 50 PM Break. 3 05 PM Exhibit Design Process Part 4 Production Design Budgeting. Scheduling Fabrication Installation Planning Evaluation. A Presentation,3 30 PM B Hands on Activity,3 45 PM Closing remarks and discussion.
4 00 PM End of workshop,THC TMDA Exhibit Workshop Handout p 3. Interpretive Exhibit Design Process at a Glance,A Pre Design. 1 Establish Exhibit Committee,2 Establish Exhibit Goals and Objectives. 3 Establish Exhibit Theme,B Conceptual Design, 4 Research Exhibit Content libraries archives field work interviews. photographs film video,5 Brainstorm Ideas for Exhibit Components.
6 Measure and draw exhibition space or site,7 Sketch ideas. C Design Development, 8 Write sign text and A V scenarios scripts and storyboards. 9 Design graphics, 10 Develop space layout exhibit component designs and display case. designs draw floor plan and exhibit plans elevations and model. 11 Design interactives,12 Design lighting,D Production Design. 13 Develop construction drawings for exhibits,14 Develop Production Budget.
15 Develop Production Schedule,E Production,16 Fabricate Exhibit Components. 17 Install Exhibit Components,F Post Production,18 Test and Fine tune Exhibit Components. 19 Evaluate Exhibit,THC TMDA Exhibit Workshop Handout p 4. Exhibit Design Process Part 1 Theme Objectives Interpretation. and application of these to exhibit development and design. Interpretation for Exhibits, The National Association for Interpretation NAI defines Interpretation as a. mission based communication process that forges emotional and intellectual. connections between the interests of the audience and the meanings inherent in. the resource http www interpnet com, In other words interpretation goes beyond displaying information It is a form of.
teaching To teach a new concept to someone you have to build upon that. person s previous knowledge You have to relate it to them and make it relevant. to them Interpretation does this it gives meaning to something specific and new. to visitors by revealing connections to larger stories that they know Once the. new information has been placed within a broader known context then the. particularity of the new information can be established and given value. Another aspect of interpretation is that it inspires critical thinking It encourages. the visitor to ask the essential question WHY If you can engage visitors. mentally by getting them to think and ask questions and seek answers then you. have them hooked, One exhibit design tip is that it is easier to engage visitors mentally in order to. teach them your exhibit content if you have physically and emotionally engaged. them This trick forms the basis of interactive exhibits People learn more and. remember more if they have analyzed and worked their brains and bodies than if. they have tried to learn through rote memorization. We often use the term story to describe the product of interpretation This word. is the operative device for interpretive exhibits as it is for most teaching Our. society learns through stories We read books in a narrative format Our. television programs and movies follow this same format This is the way that our. society is trained to learn so in using this device you the person wanting to. teach will be able to reach your visitors, Another thing to remember is that we each see the world through our own lenses. The history or the natural history event that you want to teach is your version of a. story Someone else would see it and tell it differently As teachers we need to. keep in mind that no perspective is absolute, The person who is credited with articulating the ideas behind Interpretation in. this sense of the term and codifying the field is the writer Freeman Tilden who. wrote for and about the National Park Service His famous book first published in. 1957 and reprinted 11 times to total 62 500 copies and still guiding the. profession is called Interpreting Our Heritage Through his study of the. THC TMDA Exhibit Workshop Handout p 5, interaction between visitors and naturalists at national parks he made six basic. observations or principles These form the foundation of interpretive exhibit. Drawn from his original text they are, 1 The Visitor s First Interest Any interpretation that does not somehow relate.
what is being displayed or described to something within the personality or. experience of the visitor will be sterile p 11, 2 Raw Material and Its Product Information as such is not interpretation. Interpretation is revelation based upon information But they are entirely. different things However all interpretation does include information p 18. 3 The Story s the Thing Interpretation is an art which combines many arts. whether the materials presented are scientific historical or architectural Any. art is in some degree teachable p 26, 4 The chief aim of Interpretation is not instruction but provocation p 32. 5 Toward a Perfect Whole Interpretation should aim to present a whole rather. than a part and must address itself to the whole man rather than any phase. 6 Interpretation addressed to children say up to the age of twelve should not. be a dilution of the presentation to adults but should follow a fundamentally. different approach To be at its best it will require a separate program p 47. There are a number of other excellent books on interpretation for exhibits for. example Beverly Serrell s Exhibit Labels and Sam Ham s Environmental. Interpretation A Practical Guide See also the bibliography at the end of this. The only way to reach your visitors is to make the material that you are. presenting relevant to them here is Tilden s point again It is imperative to. demonstrate how your exhibit material relates to larger themes that your. visitors know TMDA calls this macro interpretation This is the Big Picture. Next you need to demonstrate how your material is special or is divergent from. the big story in other words why are you exhibiting it TMDA calls this micro. interpretation, Together the macro and micro interpretation should answer the question why. would the visitor want to know this,THC TMDA Exhibit Workshop Handout p 6. Exhibit Themes and Objectives, The exhibit design process begins with developing a theme and establishing.
objectives,Establishing an Exhibit Committee, To develop the exhibit s theme and objectives and to act as a sounding board. through the design and development process an exhibit committee may be. formed This should not be a large group since consensus would be hard to. achieve Seven to nine members representing a cross section of the museum s. administration or its stakeholders is ideal More people may be brought in later. for expanding the content or proofreading signs The exhibit theme may even be. the product of the curator alone or the head of the exhibit research team. Developing exhibit objectives however has programmatic implications that. require the input from different areas of the museum s administration. Why Develop a Theme,A strong exhibit has a theme,Meaningful interpretation has a theme. Themes organize and focus an exhibit and make it meaningful to visitors. As Sam Ham states Exhibits that are designed first to communicate a theme. and then to look attractive will be more effective than those that are designed. solely to look good p 236, The bottom line is that people your visitors remember themes They forget. facts Ham p 39,How to Develop a Theme, To define the theme ask yourself or your team What s the big idea What is the. message In one sentence articulate what you want your audience to be able to. state at the end of the exhibit experience This is the theme or the message. Ideally the theme is a short and simple sentence presenting one specific idea. The theme is not the topic of the exhibit, The topic is much broader and is not a sentence It is the general.
subject matter For example your topic might be Cattle drives in northwest. The theme however is the message that you want your visitors to get. from the exhibit Your theme for this exhibit might be Social hierarchies. developed among cattle drivers in northwest Texas, OR your theme might be Texas cattle drivers learned the tricks of their. trade from their Spanish predecessors, OR your theme might be The influx of immigrants into the Northeast after. the Civil War provided a market for Texas beef which walked half way to the. dinner table and was sent the rest of the way by refrigerated rail from Chicago. THC TMDA Exhibit Workshop Handout p 7, The last example is a bit too long and complex but you can see the. difference between the broad general topic and the message carrying theme An. infinite number of themes can be developed for any topic. The research information presentation colors materials graphics. lighting in short every part of the exhibit design and interpretation will be. affected by the selected theme This is because the purpose of the theme is to. provide a unified clearly defined message Unity of message is developed. through unity of all the supporting materials that is the entire exhibit design and. interpretation, If you are familiar with writing essays the theme of an exhibit is equivalent to the. thesis of a paper, This is the so what factor What is it that you want your visitors to understand.
about your topic, The theme also implies what the exhibit is not about For example in the. previous example about cattle drives all three sample themes indicated that. their respective exhibits were not about farmer rancher range wars. Distilling a theme is often the hardest part of exhibit development If you have a. loose collection of donated objects as your collection you will need to look for. a thread that connects them or look for a larger picture or message that they. contribute to The broader your collection the harder it is to define a theme. To define your theme consider your collection conduct additional research to. broaden your understanding of your topic analyze and summarize this. material and continue to distill it until you have a one sentence statement. Although you might use your theme as the exhibit title this message might not. be literally stated anywhere In either case it will inform and guide all. interpretation and even design decisions, A dissertation could be written on any aspect artifact or specimen of any. exhibit Use the established theme to limit the information that you present If. your theme has to do with the craft involved in making 19th century farm tools. then limit your discussion to one of craft do not present volumes of other. information about the tools and their use, This is important because it drastically reduces the amount of research and. work that you might otherwise do if trying to represent everything known on a. broad topic, One reason for streamlining the material that you present is that when it comes. Research Design Approaches to exhibit design Exhibit Design Process Part 3 Design Development p 15 Space layout Artifact mounting Display cases Signage Graphics Colors Lighting Film amp Video Third amp Fourth dimensions Output Exhibit Design Process Part 4 Production Design Budgeting p 33 Scheduling Fabrication amp Installation Planning Evaluation Exhibit Design Illustratio

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