Happy Fall, Everyone!


That’s right! As of 4:44 pm yesterday it is officially autumn and I know I can see (and feel) the changes. In addition to the chill in the air, some trees have begun changing colors, the Halloween decorations have taken over the seasonal sections of department stores, new fall programming has begun on television (Have any of you seen Sleepy Hollow? How fun!), and the Whaley House is full of excitement for the House in Mourning exhibit and events (reserve your space now!).

I can’t believe that my summer of planning this exhibit has come to end. In less than two weeks the exhibit will open with the October 5 Candlelight Tour. Last week Melanee explained how she has been working with tools and doing things that she never thought she’d do as a museum intern, which made me realize that the readers may have no idea what goes into creating an exhibit. So, here is the quick and dirty run down.

1. Brainstorm: You need an idea of a theme, fact, event, or activity around which to base the program.

2. Research…Lots of Research: Unless you are an expert in everything, there’s a lot of reading one has to do to prepare to create a program or exhibit. Not only is it necessary to research the content of the program, but it’s important to spend time looking at what other museums have done with this topic.

3. Message: Organize all of your research into a cohesive message you want to present to visitors.

4. Logistics: So now you have all of this great information and this great message, but HOW are you going to present it to visitors?

5. Shopping: You will inevitably make several trips to the store. Then, just when you think you’ve got everything, you realize ten more things you need. And, don’t forget “shopping” in other collections. Sometimes you can find great pieces to use in the exhibit that way!

Okay, so this isn’t quite the right kind of shopping…it’s more like me carrying too much foam board and photo copies and dropping it all next to my car while fishing my keys out of my purse…

6. Advertise, Advertise, Advertise!

5. Fabrication: Then you need to put it all together and make time to enjoy the events!

Well, there you have it! That’s my quick and dirty run-down of the steps to create an exhibit, without, of course, spoiling the industry secrets. Museum folks are like magicians; we can’t spill the beans. But, if you’d like to experience the fruits of our secretive labor, come check out the Whaley House this October!


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