Before starting the exhibit creation process, you need to consider closely your topic, desired effects, and objectives with the understanding that the decisions you make 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: designed to showcase 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?
Barth, G. L., Drake Davis, L., Mita, A. (2018). "Digital Exhibitions: Concepts and Practices". Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference Technical Leaflet Series no. 12.