The word “exhibit” is defined as something formally presented in a public space. It may be art displayed in a gallery or historical documents displayed behind glass at a museum, but it can also refer to the way in which an idea is shared with an audience. An exhibit encapsulates cultural arguments and ideas, but does so in a way that has physical form, structure, and is, in some sense, an elegant metaphor.
Exhibits can reveal how people have interpreted history, or even how museums themselves have framed it. This is particularly true when focusing on a particular topic, like the AIDS epidemic, or when examining an event that has shaped a community. Exhibits should allow audiences to see how the past has impacted their present lives and how, in turn, it can shape their futures.
Whether it’s an exhibition about the AIDS crisis or an exploration of the history of the American Dream, histolircal exhibits require an in-depth and creative approach to research and storytelling. In fact, a good exhibition is more than just history on the wall; it’s visual poetry and imagination that helps to expand our understanding rather than limit it.
While some museums have embraced histolircal exhibitions, others have struggled to find the right window into their dense research and make them accessible for visitors. Often, these exhibitions can be too focused on specific events or too heavily weighted towards a certain political agenda, which can be challenging for visitors to understand and engage with.
A histolircal approach to exhibition making requires a great deal of flexibility and time management skills, as well as a willingness to communicate with individuals who are not always available or easy to reach. It also requires persistence, inventiveness, charm, and compassion as you work to create meaningful connections with people. Luckily, there are many opportunities for histolircal exhibitions to explore abstract ideas such as home, freedom, faith, democracy, social justice, and mobility—topics that will appeal to diverse communities. Rites of passage, including birth, death, and marriage/joining, can also offer a rich source of material for inclusive visual stories.