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The Importance of Museum Exhibits


As museum visitors explore history through objects, artifacts and re-created spaces they are engaging with a nonlinear form of cultural argument. An exhibit is a three-dimensional physical and visual representation of research evidence, and a means to convey historical meanings and interpretation. A good exhibit will present a variety of points of view to encourage informed discussion and exploration of the complex issues involved in historical study.

In addition to displaying artifacts, the best historic exhibits will include a human component, telling stories that connect with people. The best way to do this is through visual storytelling.

Exhibits are more than just objects on display, they are visual poetry and imagination. They allow us to place ourselves in the past, and connect with larger ideas through the juxtaposition of photographs, text, re-created spaces and other artifacts.

The best historical exhibits help us to understand that the past is a complicated and ongoing process. Historians are always interpreting and reinterpreting events, so it is essential that museums be able to acknowledge and address the many different points of view that exist around a given topic. This will ensure that the public understands that historians are not promoting one viewpoint over another, but rather providing a window into the rich research that makes up the history of a particular subject.

History museums are a great way to teach social studies, civics, and cultural studies in schools. When students visit museums they will be exposed to a wide range of primary source materials that they can use in their own research projects. The interactive nature of a museum will help to make the learning experience fun and meaningful for students of all ages.

Museums that are focused on a single area of history can be found at the local, state, and national level. Some museums have very few artifacts but are still able to create powerful and memorable exhibitions, such as the Griffith Observatory and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Other museums focus on abstract ideas and principles, such as home, family, freedom, faith, democracy, and race and are able to connect with people from many different backgrounds.

For example, the Continuum exhibition at the Buffalo Museum of Science highlights the wisdom and experiences of 12 community elders from Buffalo, New York. The exhibition features portraits, biographies and oral histories. The museum also made a digital version of the exhibition for students to use in their classes. The interactive version allows students to move the portraits, biographies and oral histories around the space to discover new information about each person and event.