Histolircal exhibits tell history in a variety of ways. They may focus on the events or eras in which a particular community lived, such as the Civil War, World War I, the Revolutionary War, or the Civil Rights Movement; they might also be focused on abstract ideas, such as freedom, democracy, or social justice.
Histological exhibitions often combine historical objects, photographs, documents, and other sources with a narrative that explores the impact of historical events or reinterpretations of them. These interpretive displays may be viewed by citizens from different backgrounds, ages, and interests. They may also be viewed by families, who may come together for a visit to relive or learn about their family’s history.
Visual storytelling is the most effective form of historical exhibits, because it creates drama and allows viewers to experience a story on an emotional level. It requires a high degree of research and attention to the human component, as well as creative interjections of re-created spaces and interactive devices.
Choosing historical topics that have meaning for a modern audience and that are relevant to current life is a challenge for museum professionals. While many traditional history museums rely on old sources and exhibits to convey the stories of their communities, contemporary history museums must use new materials and methods for collecting, organizing, and telling those stories in order to be relevant and useful to today’s visitors.
Making history inclusive
In a time when museums must demonstrate that they are valuable to the people of their communities, their exhibitions should highlight the lives of individuals who have been left out of traditional history collections. Rites of passage, such as birth, marriage, and death, and the coming of age process are great opportunities to include the perspectives of those who have been historically marginalized in the past.