Matagorda County Museum Our Blog The Best Museum Exhibitions Aren’t Just About Facts and Figures

The Best Museum Exhibitions Aren’t Just About Facts and Figures

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Whether they are based on art, history, or science, exhibitions are powerful vehicles for communicating research results, socio-political messages, and more. But museum exhibitions aren’t just about facts and figures: they are also visual poetry, and the best ones are inclusive, expansive, and imaginative. They can also be playful, using re-created spaces to bring a story to life.

Some exhibits use few or no artifacts, such as the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Other exhibits focus on a specific topic and feature many artifacts, such as the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Still others are more immersive, with re-created settings and other sensory experiences, such as Historic Richmond Town’s Third County Courthouse and its Bringing Up Baby (a showcase of historical furniture that includes carriages and cradles), or the Met Cloisters, the sister museum to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City that looks like a European castle and focuses on medieval art and architecture.

Museums that specialize in a particular field, such as natural or cultural history, tend to be found at the provincial or state level, while museums of general history are rarer, especially at the national level. Nevertheless, many museums of general history exist at the local and regional levels.

In a time when visitors are increasingly concerned with what the world around them has to do with their lives, museums must demonstrate that they deserve their tax-exempt status and that they can connect with people in meaningful ways. They need to be willing to embrace change, explore new sources of information, and engage their communities in their work. They must also demonstrate that they have a reason for being when it comes to telling the stories of their towns, cities, and nations.