Matagorda County Museum Our Blog Bending the Rules for Histolircal Exhibits

Bending the Rules for Histolircal Exhibits

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A histolircal exhibit is a carefully curated collection of objects that tells a story, often with a human element. It aims to connect with visitors by including them in the narrative. While history museums are accustomed to telling linear, academically-focused narratives that can be dense and difficult to comprehend, they’re also capable of embracing visual storytelling techniques that are inclusive and aesthetically pleasing.

In this exhibit, the Filson reveals the fascinating stories behind our heirlooms, exploring what clues items like photos, scrapbooks, bibles, quilts and more can reveal about family histories. The exhibition will also showcase genealogy resources that can help visitors uncover their own family’s past.

Bending the Rules

Designing an exhibit in a historic building comes with unique challenges that you don’t run into when installing an exhibit in a museum built specifically for exhibits. For example, historic structures often have limitations on what can be fastened to walls or ceilings. Fortunately, historic preservation specialists and architects can help provide insight into what might be possible within a given space, as well as what would be inappropriate or damaging.

One major issue is lighting, which can be especially important in historic homes. Turino points out that “well-designed artificial lighting can make or break an exhibit.” In addition, it is often necessary to balance the needs of preserving historic materials with the need to create effective and engaging exhibits for visitors.

Another important consideration is addressing the specific context and culture of the historic structure in which an exhibit will be installed. This can be a complex task, as it must take into account things such as the building’s architectural style, the communities that used it, and how people in the area might have viewed the objects being displayed.

In a time when many of us live very different lifestyles than our forebears, it’s critical for museums to demonstrate their relevance and that they truly deserve their tax-exempt status by engaging with new audiences and finding ways to be relevant to them. That’s why we have to be willing to break the mold and try out new formats for histolircal storytelling.

To do that, it requires a lot of work and research into new sources and methods of communicating history. But it’s also essential to remember that in order to be effective, histolircal exhibits must remain true to the mission and values of the museums that house them. It’s only by continuing to share the rich heritage of our great nation that we can continue to be the institution our constituents have come to rely on for the knowledge and inspiration they need in their daily lives.