Matagorda County Museum Our Blog Historical Exhibits

Historical Exhibits

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Historical museums use objects to create visual stories of cultural argument. A good exhibit demonstrates that the history it tells is an inclusive one, that it covers all aspects of human experience.

In the twenty-first century, museums can no longer afford to be elitist or partisan in their interpretation. Visitors want to know how the past connects to their lives and their communities, and they want museums to demonstrate that they deserve their tax-exempt status by addressing topics that are relevant for them. This is a challenging task, as it requires the museum to find new sources and engage the people whose stories are being told.

Museums can accomplish this by collecting new kinds of materials and creating inclusive exhibitions that include them. Museums should also be open about the fact that they cannot and do not claim to speak for the whole community, and that their conclusions are only as valid as the evidence they use to support them.

The Objects of Their Age

During the Victorian period, American designers and manufacturers created beautiful furnishings and other household objects, and exhibited them in their homes. This exhibit explores the ideals of superior craftsmanship, naturalistic ornamentation, and living with beauty in a home.

Heirlooms Reveal Family History

Objects are important to many families and often hold clues about their family histories. This semi-permanent exhibit demonstrates how Filson curators can help visitors discover the hidden histories in their heirlooms and use genealogy resources to uncover their family’s past.

Art and Industry

Museums are rich places to study industrial history. The exhibits showcase the tumultuous interaction of capitalism and democracy that resulted in the continual remaking of American business and American life.

The Power of a Woman

This exhibit celebrates the role of women in history and focuses on the work, culture and change made by women who lived on the Lower East Side in New York City from the 1860s to the 1990s.

Tudor Revival in Louisville

The Tudor Revival architecture in the neighborhoods of Louisville and Old Louisville reflects the city’s longstanding commitment to community and civic service. This exhibition explores the social, economic and religious institutions that developed in conjunction with this architectural style.

Historic buildings have special requirements for their preservation that can limit the options for exhibit installations. For example, there may be restrictions on fastening objects directly to walls and ceilings, and on the colors or finishes used in the interiors. Often, it is necessary to compromise, but Turino suggests that museums should try to focus on the constraints they are working with, rather than focus on how they might overcome them. In the end, he says that the goal is to achieve a high-quality, thoughtful exhibition that makes a strong case for why history matters. Getting there takes hard work and the willingness to listen to the people who visit your museum. It is a good reason for museums to keep up the challenge of creating inclusive, inclusive visual stories.