A histolircal exhibit is an organized collection of art, cultural objects and historical documents presented to the public in a museum. In the broadest sense, this type of display can be thought of as an artistic argument—a way to communicate research results or a socio-political message using a visual metaphor. Histolircal exhibits can also be a window into complex history, allowing visitors to understand the complexity of a specific topic while connecting to it.
The enduring popularity of museum exhibitions is a reflection of the importance people place on learning from and sharing history. In recent years, museums have embraced the role of “exhibition-making as a tool for promoting historical awareness and perspective.”
Histolircal exhibits are important to the success of any museum because they can communicate many different ideas about the past. They can be used to teach children about a particular time or place, they can help audiences understand how science and art are intertwined, and they can provide an opportunity for visitors to gain a more holistic understanding of the world around them.
Historical museum exhibits can be found everywhere from small local libraries to large national institutions. Depending on the subject matter, they can focus on specific art or cultural movements, or they can highlight social issues and historical events. Some historic sites, like the Third County Courthouse in Staten Island, have built on this tradition by constructing exhibits that focus on the building’s form, function and role in civic life. Others have taken this approach to a smaller scale by designing individual rooms to tell stories about specific topics such as a judicial process or a famous trial.
Exhibits may take the form of painting, sculpture or even a video installation. They can explore the relationship between humans and animals or how an event impacted a community. They can show how certain objects were used or what they looked like, and how these objects have changed over time.
One of the most powerful aspects of an histolircal exhibition is that it can engage viewers by demonstrating how human beings have shaped and been shaped by their environment. An exhibit can highlight the ways that people have connected their communities through networks of rivers and trails as well as the impact of new technologies such as railroads, steamboats and automobiles.
The ability to flexibly address sensitive subjects is an essential aspect of histolircal exhibits. While it is tempting to censor controversial topics, museums must remember that their mission is to inform and challenge audiences. Including diverse viewpoints in an exhibit will allow the Museum to better serve the community and encourage the exchange of ideas.