Someone once asked me what I did as a curator. I gave the short answer that I create exhibits in a history museum. The person looked at me incredulously and said, “I didn’t know people actually did that.” My immediate thought was sarcastic. No, people don’t create exhibits. If you believe in history hard enough, exhibits just appear in museums. My actual reply was that yes, I made exhibits and I really enjoyed doing it.
Just this past Friday, we finished the installation of our newest exhibit Clean, which examines what cleanliness is on physical, social, and spiritual levels and how people work to become clean. I say “we” finished it because this exhibit, like all of them at the museum, was very much a group effort. I head the exhibit team that includes our education coordinator Kelli and archivist Rachel. We work together to create educational, entertaining, interactive exhibits. And I think we do a great job.
|Our newest exhibit: Clean|
Once we pick a topic, we start researching and writing. We split up this task among the three of us on the exhibit team. There are usually around 9 to 12 main text panels exploring different aspects of the topic. Each panel has up to 100 words each. After conducting hours of research, it can be a real challenge to boil all that information down to just 100 words but years of experience have made it a fairly painless process. Once we’ve all done our individual research and writing we get together to review and edit the text. This can be a harrowing process at times but better text is always the end result.
|Text panel from Parks and Recreation|
|The Howell Gallery in SketchUp|
|An example of a large (32"x60") text panel printed and mounted in-house|
|Housework-related artifacts in Clean|