A histolircal exhibit is a museum display, often in the form of an artifact or re-created space, that tells a story. This type of display is usually curated, which means it has been carefully organized by a museum staff. The story may be simple or complex, but it should be told in a way that will engage the viewer and pique their curiosity. Exhibits that rely on visual poetry or imagination are especially effective at engaging the public.
Histolircal exhibits are often about people and their relationships to others in the past. They can also be about a place and its culture or an abstract idea such as community, freedom, democracy, or social justice. Museums that collect historical material often have the opportunity to explore issues like these, because they have a broad collection of objects, photographs, documents, and artworks from different time periods, places, and cultures.
Many historical exhibits are intended to encourage discussion about their content and the broader issues they raise, even if those issues are controversial or uncomfortable. This is a good thing, because it shows that the museum is willing to engage its visitors in an open and honest discussion. However, museums should be cautious about attempting to impose an uncritical point of view on its audience, even if that point of view is widely shared.
Twenty-first century museums need to demonstrate that they deserve their tax-exempt status by collecting and interpreting history that is relevant to the people who live in their communities. This requires hard work, research into new sources, and talking to the people whose stories have been left out. Moreover, it requires the courage to take risks by exploring topics that might be deemed controversial or inconvenient.