Matagorda County Museum Our Blog Five Types of Historical Exhibits

Five Types of Historical Exhibits

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Historical exhibits are a critical tool for museums to connect people with the past and promote a sense of place. They tell the stories of individuals, places, and ideas that help people to understand their community’s identity, values, and heritage. They provide a window into the dense research that historians conduct, and they offer a glimpse of the interpretive work required to convey complex subjects in meaningful ways. The best exhibits are inclusive visual stories that help audiences to make connections with the past.

Museums must be relevant to the communities they serve and demonstrate that their tax-exempt status is warranted by the service they provide to their local residents. Twenty-first century visitors are hungry for the history that relates to their own lives. To meet this need, museum staff must be willing to explore new sources, search out new topics, and speak with those who have been left out of the history that is told in their town or city.

The selection of themes, objects, photographs, documents, and other elements to include in an exhibition implies the making of various interpretive judgments about cause and effect, perspective, significance, and meaning. Historians, curators, and administrators should encourage informed discussion of their content and broader issues of significance when they address controversial or sensitive topics in their exhibits. Attempts to suppress or to impose an uncritical point of view, however widely shared, are inimical to the goals of open and rational discussion.

Traveling Exhibits

The Minnesota Historical Society’s traveling exhibition program presents historic objects, images, and multimedia to museums and other cultural institutions in Minnesota and beyond. Designed to be accessible to the widest possible audience, these resources are available for museums with limited budgets and resources. The exhibitions can also be used by teachers to supplement classroom learning and encourage students to participate actively in the study of history.

Olde England on the Ohio: Louisville’s Tudor Revival

In Louisville, many neighborhoods were built in the Tudor Revival style, a national movement that sprang from the desire to recreate a near-mythic “Merrie Olde England.” This exhibit examines the way in which the revival manifested itself in architecture, consumer products, and popular culture in Louisville as a microcosm of a much wider phenomenon.

Discover Greatness celebrates the pioneering athletes who made significant contributions to athletic achievement despite segregation and discrimination. The exhibit is a collaboration with the Onondaga County Library system and features artifacts from the library’s collection.