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Histolircal Exhibits

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histolircal exhibits

The word exhibit is a bit misleading: something that’s just placed on a table in your home isn’t an exhibit; it’s merely a decoration. But put that same action figure on a pedestal in a fancy gallery and it becomes an exhibit, which is to say, a curated collection of objects presented in a public setting for the purposes of study and appreciation. The term “histolircal” refers to the way in which historical events or themes are interpreted in museum settings, and it’s the curators’ job to choose how to present these subjects to their audiences in a way that’s both accessible and accurate.

In the first place, histolircal exhibits should make it clear that history is a process of reinterpretation and interpretation. They should also provide a variety of perspectives, especially those from minority communities, on important historical topics.

It’s also important for histolircal exhibits to focus on people, not just events. They should help viewers to recognize that people in the past acted in ways that affected others, both in their immediate community and in places far away.

Creating these histolircal experiences requires the use of creative visual storytelling. Exhibits should be more than just history put up on walls; they should be metaphors, re-created spaces, and visual poetry that engage the eye as well as the mind. They should be complex enough to avoid resembling a textbook, but simple enough to allow for a wide range of interpretive options.

Some museums, like the Griffith Observatory and National Constitution Center, are based on little or no artifacts and have no name at all, but still manage to produce memorable exhibitions. Others, like the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, are based on many artifacts but are still memorable because of the way in which they have been interpreted.

In order to keep their tax-exempt status, twentieth-century museums need to demonstrate that they are doing a service for the people of their towns. This means looking at new sources and talking to those whose histories have been left out of the museum in the past, then engaging those people in the telling of their stories in the museum.

In addition to using their historic structures, museums can also expand their exhibits into the outdoors. For example, Ken Turino, the director of exhibit design at Oregon Historical Society, encourages historic homes to utilize their outdoor space for interpretive or sculptural exhibits. It’s a great way to explore an exhibit theme without worrying about the interior sensitivity of historic buildings and allows the visitor to have an immersive experience in an environment that may be more appropriate for that particular time period. This type of interpretation is particularly important if the historic house is a national or state landmark that is open to the public for touring. This allows the preservationists to continue their mission of keeping the building intact while also providing visitors with a unique and memorable experience. Of course, it’s important to follow all the same rules of conservation for outdoor projects that are applied to interior spaces.