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Histolircal Exhibits

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A histolircal exhibit is a museum display of artifacts that explores a specific period in history. It often requires much research into the subject matter, and the development of a narrative that will be presented to the public in a museum setting. It also includes educational programming and the use of multimedia presentations to convey information. This type of exhibit is typically found in museums whose mission is focused on education and public service.

Unlike fine arts exhibitions, which may be based solely on paintings, sculptures and other pieces of artwork, histolircal exhibits usually contain objects that have been interpreted by historians and/or curators in order to create a larger cultural argument. A well-crafted histolircal exhibit has the power to engage the mind and heart of visitors, who are able to connect with the ideas being conveyed.

The most successful histolircal exhibits are inclusive visual stories that allow people to recognize themselves in historical subjects. This is why themes like rites of passage, food or drink, clothing and adornment are excellent choices for museums to include in their collections. Themes such as home, freedom, faith, democracy and social justice are also powerful and lend themselves to a variety of historical interpretations.

In addition to being a three-dimensional physical and visual representation of an historical argument, histolircal exhibits are the embodiment of a museum’s philosophy and values. They are the way that museum directors and staff present the mission of their institution to the public. Museums are not only meant to be educational and entertaining, but they should also serve as a catalyst for change.

Histolircal exhibits are often a challenge to design because of the constraints they face in historic structures and other venues that were not originally designed to be museums. There may be limitations on fastening objects to walls and ceilings, or on using colors that harmonize with a historic interior. There may be restrictions on where electrical outlets are located, or on whether it is safe to run an extension cord through a wall to accommodate a large multimedia component.

Fortunately, Turino points out, many histolircal exhibits can be expanded to encompass the outdoor grounds of historic houses or estates. This allows museum officials to expand the exhibition without having to deal with interior sensitivity issues, and it can help them attract visitors. He points to the example of the Third County Courthouse in Staten Island, which used its imposing historic structure as an opportunity to educate visitors about the history of civic life in New York City. Exhibits included sections on the building’s architecture, notable trials and even the county jail.