8 tips to creating a powerful Museum Exhibition Design

There are many reasons to visit a museum, but one of the things that can make you love the museum experience is their way of telling stories and their way of presenting them. Imagine a Roald Dahl book without Quentin blake’s illustration – can’t even imagine it, right? And you definitely want your museum exhibit to be memorable. Here’s a round up of learnings from some amazing and inspiring exhibits to help you create a powerful exhibition design.

1. Tell the story in a compelling way. 

Take cue from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata – epics that have constantly been told over and over again, and yet the audience wants to lap it up every time a new medium adapts it. Its because the epics tell not just one story, but many stories, within the story. Design your exhibit to tell smaller stories within a larger narrative.

2. Divide large exhibitions

Separate your content into sections to make it easier for the visitor to digest. Nobody likes to feel intimidated or overloaded, and so, the exhibition design should be seamless in a way that all sections tie into each other bit by bit, making the visitor feel like exploring more.

3. Use games

Games are not just for children. In fact, adults enjoy them more. Gaming can be leveraged to creating engaging, fun and interactive experiences for visitors. For instance, this game from the Oriental Institute Museum (University of Chicago) , allows you to digitally understand the process of mummification by choosing the right ingredients for embalming the body; experimenting with hieroglyphs and more! Kids and parents both can’t get enough of this!

4.  Use interesting graphic design to create interest, flow and focus. 

Labels, banners, picture postcards, content graphs, the possibilities are enormous, but you need to know what goes with your exhibit and what visitors would really like. Here’s how Anne Morgan asked visitors how the museum exhibit could creatively use labels – without being all very fancy!

5. Innovate – when it comes to presenting your art and artefacts.

What are some of the new ways in which you can display? By creating immersive and creative displays, you’ll enhance visitor engagement with the exhibition. For example, the Asian Civilizations Museum during their Ramayana Revisited exhibition, had visitors engage with the various forms the Ramayana has taken in Southeast Asia. 
Ramayana or Ramakien...or...?
Ramayana or Ramakien…or…?

6. Embrace technology: 

Interactive kiosks, videos, mobile apps – integrate a variety of technology to capture your audience’s attention, and imagination! This way, you’d be a success amidst younger visitors too. For example, this kiosk at the Mumbai Airport Museum allows you to send out e-postcards based on your favourite collections. Isn’t that a very cool idea?

7. Have a clear plan in mind:

Make sure you know your target audience. Who are the audiences you’re aiming at entertaining, educating or engaging? Design your museum experience keeping them in mind at each step.

8. Remember to create a buzz

Finally, plan the communication around your exhibit and plan it in advance. Your communication strategy is going to be your ace card. If you have a great exhibition design, but people don’t know about it, what’s the point really? Encourage visitors to tweet / use social media using the appropriate hashtags. Create a behind the scenes blog. Keep your social network alive!
I found this interesting graphic to go with the post :
How to Design a Successful Museum Exhibit Image Credit: Sensing Architecture
How to Design a Successful Museum Exhibit Image Credit: Sensing Architecture
If you’re a museum professional reading this, do let me know if the above helped you in any way. Feel free to throw in your suggestions / your experience of designing a memorable Museum Exhibit!

Photo by Rob Young


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