Historical exhibits are a way of exploring past events and cultures, and help audiences gain a better understanding of their own history. Museums often host them, but they can also be created by community groups. Often, they are created by professional museums, as well. A history exhibit may include a mix of text, art, photographs, crafts, and entertainment. These types of exhibits are designed to appeal to different audiences, and can help viewers understand the history of a particular culture, time, and place.
Historical exhibits can be created by large, nationally-known museums, or by smaller, locally-owned institutions. Exhibitions can be interactive, and they can include live music and games. They can also be nonlinear, allowing visitors to experience history in new ways. However, it is important to remember that museum exhibits are not necessarily textbooks. They sometimes memorialize tragedies and injustices, or they may provide a deeper look into a specific period or topic in history.
Visual storytelling is a way of presenting history in a more dynamic and dramatic way. A good exhibition will be simple enough to allow the story to unfold as an experience, rather than a book on a wall. The best exhibitions are also inclusive, meaning that the stories are aimed at all demographics. For example, a history exhibit of the Civil War may include both soldiers and civilians, as well as a range of viewpoints.
An exhibition can also include the juxtaposition of objects, which can help the viewer place themselves in the context of a particular time or place. For example, a history of technology exhibit might use a working model of a coal mine to demonstrate how industrial processes work. A historic exhibit of a particular building, such as the Lincoln Memorial, will incorporate the architecture into the presentation.
Another example is an exhibit devoted to the lives of Enid Yandell, a nationally-renowned sculptor who grew up in Louisville. The exhibit features items from the Filson Historical Society’s collection, as well as materials from the University of Louisville. Guests will be able to see Enid’s early life and her time at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, as well as her work as a sculptor.
Similarly, an exhibit on the history of the Jewish Hospital in Louisville will feature materials from the Filson Historical Society as well as materials from the University of Louisville’s Special Collections. The Jewish Hospital opened in 1905, and it had a mission of patient care and education. The hospital eventually moved into a new facility in the downtown area, and the Jewish Hospital still has a presence in the city.
A variety of themes are possible for exhibitions, including social justice, religion, clothing, food, and rites of passage. These topics might be more appropriate for larger museums, as they can be more visually immersive, but they can also be a great idea for smaller, community-based venues.
An exhibit that focuses on a particular community will be a unique experience, as visitors will be able to learn about the impact of the people in the town on their own communities. An exhibit of a famous landmark, such as the Eiffel Tower, will allow visitors to see the monument in a different light. These kinds of displays can also include interactive components, such as a giant screen film or a walk-through.