¶ Starting a Digital Exhibit

Before starting the exhibit creation process, you need to closely consider your topic, desired effects, and objectives with the understanding that these decisions might change as you progress.

1.) Determine the Topic

What is the main focus or theme of the exhibit?

  • Some examples: a historical period or movement, an event, a person's biography, a process or technique (e.g., silk screen printing), an idea or concept (e.g., the law of gravity), an industry (e.g., whaling), a single object (e.g., a specific book, painting, or musical instrument)

2.) Determine the Desired Effect

Effects to consider (as cited in Barth, et al. 2018):

  • Aesthetic: organized around the beauty of objects

  • Emotive: designed to elicit an emotion in the viewer

  • Evocative: designed to create a specific atmosphere

  • Didactic: designed to teach the viewer about a specific topic

  • Entertaining: designed for the amusement or enjoyment of the viewer

3.) Determine the Objectives

What do you want people "walking away" with? This means considering things like:

  • What is the motivation for creating the exhibit? (Why this exhibit?)

  • What are the intended learning outcomes?

  • How do you want visitors to be able to apply what they learn beyond the exhibit?

4.) Creating the Exhibit

Once the above considerations have been made, it is time to begin the exhibit creation process. See our "Getting Started with Digital Exhibits" tutorial for more information.


Barth, G. L., Drake Davis, L., Mita, A. (2018). "Digital Exhibitions: Concepts and Practices". Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference Technical Leaflet Series no. 12.

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