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Seven Design Tips for Captivating Museum Exhibits
A visit to a museum is often inspiring, thought-provoking and simulating. You can thank successful museum exhibit design for that. From the quirky to the refined, from diminutive replicas to interactive experiences of mammoth proportions, museum exhibits can breathe life into history and rouse our curiosities. But the museum exhibit design process isn’t simple by any means. There’s far more to it than arranging a few statues and adding some signage. By taking time to think strategically about your audience, their motivations and interests, and the information you wish to share with them, you can create museum exhibits that will captivate visitors and make your institution a must-see attraction.
In the following article, we’ll explore seven of the most important considerations in effective museum exhibit design.
- Who are your visitors? Try to understand why those who visit are choosing to see your exhibition. Some people may even travel from afar or take time off from work to be there. They’re spending time and money, so what’s motivating them to do so? A helpful first step in this exercise may be to segment the typical visitors to your museum and create personas for each of them. For example, “Field Trip Group”, “Art Lovers”, “Local”, or “Saturday Family Outing”. Each of these target audiences will have their own personality and motivations for visiting the exhibition. Your mission is to put yourself in their place and try to understand those driving forces are so you can create a design that responds those desires. You might even choose to survey potential visitors about the proposed exhibition topic. This could be accomplished through a short online survey sent to your database or via a museum employee posted in the foyer of your institution, asking a few questions of visitors as they enter or exit. Aside from what you’re seeking to communicate through the future exhibit, try to find out what your guests are hoping to gain from it. A visitor-centric display will always be a popular display.
- What’s your overall exhibition plan? Every museum, whether it’s an art gallery or an archival library, is divided into areas that are driven by the topics they address. How will this new exhibition fit into your overall museum experience? By mapping your visitors’ typical trip through your institution, you can get a sense for its optimal placement. It’s important to create a sense of time and place in every part of the display. This is especially true when creating an exhibit about history or inventions. But you can do more than simply arranging your displays along a timeline. For a more compelling museum exhibit design, incorporate graphics, signage, sounds and interactive technology. Enhancements like these enable you to immerse your visitors in different time periods as they travel through your facility.
- What are the attributes of the exhibition space? Once you have determined the location for your new display, it’s time to give thought to the details of the space. Is it readily accessible to your visitors? Is adequate electrical supply available? Are the outlets handy? If needed, is elevator access available? Are doorways large enough to accommodate the content of the exhibit? Are the ceilings high enough? A comprehensive site survey of the intended exhibition space, noting the height and width, the locations of electrical outlets, and HVAC registers is a valuable tool in this early but critical stage of the planning process.
4. How will you bring the exhibit to life? Now it’s time to think about the details of your exhibit. The strategic use of graphic design is an excellent way to create interest and enhance visitor engagement. This could involve anything from basic signs and banners to huge backdrops. Signs and graphics like these are excellent tools for creating immersive environments that transform visitors from casual observers to feeling as though they are active participants in history. Integrating technology into your museum exhibit design is another way to capture and hold the attention of your visitors. Technology to consider might include interactive kiosks, video monitors, and digital displays.
5. Present objects in clever and interesting ways. When it comes to displaying the artwork or artifacts at the heart of your display, you need to ensure that they’re visible. For small objects, good lighting and pedestals or elevated platforms can bring them to life. You can also place adjacent large graphics or video screens so these smaller relics take center stage. Larger artifacts can be placed on the ground or even mounted to the wall for a striking effect. The key is to make sure the exhibit isn’t crowded, so that each element can be appreciated and make its own impact.
6. Tell a story. The products or artifacts on display should be more than dull, unrelated objects. Rather, they should be woven together into an engaging story. Telling this story can be as simple as including digital displays or signs with detailed information regarding each element of the exhibit and how it contributes to the overall narrative.
- Accommodate a variety of visitor profiles. The visitors to your museum exhibit will each have different goals, interest levels and time constraints. Some people may want to examine every detail, while others may prefer to take a big picture approach. To create a museum exhibit that visitors can enjoy regardless of their time limitations or specific interests, presenting the information in layers is an effective design tool. By simultaneously making the most important information easily accessible and providing ways for visitors to dig deeper into the exhibit for details, you can deliver something for everyone. For instance, the most important information about your exhibit could easily be displayed with larger signs or through brief presentations. More detailed information might be made available through longer textual descriptions or extended digital presentations.
The right museum exhibit design will allow you to create displays that achieve your goals and give visitors an engaging and informative experience. With the help of the right exhibit company, you can create immersive experiences and tell compelling stories that will have people talking and bring the throngs to your door. The seasoned signage experts at Adler Display are here to help! From assessing your exhibit space, to innovative designs and expert installation, you can rely on our friendly professionals to create unique, beautiful and compelling museum displays. Contact our helpful team today to learn more.
About Adler Display: Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, Adler Display brings more than 80 years of experience to its clients in need of recognition displays, lobby and corporate interiors, custom exhibits, historical timelines, trade show displays, and signage and graphics. For more information about Adler Display, please visit the website at https://www.adlerdisplay.com/ or call 855-552-3537.