One of the most effective ways to tell a story is through an exhibition. Visual storytelling, unlike text-based or essay-based history, allows a story to unfold in a way that is both engaging and compelling. Such exhibits often feature the lives of the people who lived through the events depicted. The goal of a museum exhibit is to contextualize and complicate history, but it must also remain accessible to a general audience without becoming a textbook on a wall.
As a museum administrator, it is crucial to support the work of curators who have the responsibility of creating and presenting historical exhibits. Museums are important places to share knowledge and history with a wide audience, and exhibits are often visited by families and groups of all ages. Museums also have a unique role to play in fostering debate about their contents. Attempts to censor or suppress these exhibits may be detrimental to the public’s understanding of the past.
Today’s visitors expect museums to do more than simply document the past. In addition to exhibiting local history, museums must also demonstrate their relevance and usefulness. Providing services to people who have been left out of history’s narrative is crucial. In today’s cultural and economic climate, museums must provide meaningful, relevant information.
For those who are interested in writing about America’s history, a museum’s document collection can be an invaluable resource. In the past, the Indiana Historical Society has showcased important written works from the founding of the country, including the Magna Carta, one of the five copies known to exist, and an early edition of Frederick Douglass.