Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Museum/Exhibit/Design Toolkit: Dinosaur Duplicates!


I'm just finishing up work on a fun dinosaurs exhibition for The Children's Museum in West Hartford, Connecticut.  While we've been lucky to get some real dinosaur and fossil materials from our creative partners to use, there are times that using cast or realistic replicas in an exhibition are the way to go.

With that in mind, I thought I'd share some resources where I've purchased "dinosaur duplicates" for exhibitions (and in some cases, real fossil material as well.)

Black Hills Institute
Black Hills Institute of Geological Research Inc., has long been recognized as the world’s finest paleontological and earth science supply house. The Institute’s primary business is supplying professionally prepared fossils, fossil casts, and mineral specimens for research, teaching, and exhibitions.



Skulls Unlimited 
Skulls Unlimited International is the granddaddy of commercial skull cleaning and processing dealers. They also sell high quality replicas in addition to their natural bone products.



Dinosaur Resin Replica
As the name implies, Dinosaur Resin Replica sells resin statues and models of dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes (including the raptor I'm pictured with at the top of this post!)  They sell statues and models of other types of animals as well.




PaleoScene
Glen at PaleoScene really does a great job creating museum-quality reproductions produced from original fossil specimens. Their catalog includes a variety of well-preserved and historically important specimens from several different geologic periods, as well as one of the largest selections of dinosaur and pre-dinosaur track casts available anywhere.  You can also purchase real fossils in bulk (great for simulated fossil dig exhibits!) from PaleoScene as well.



Prehistoric Planet
Prehistoric Planet bills itself as "The Museum where you can purchase every exhibit!"  Leaving that aside, the website does sell a wide range of items, including some hard-to-find cast replicas.



I hope you find some good information and inspiration at the websites above. If you have some of your own suggestions for prehistoric paraphernalia purveyors that you've used for exhibits projects, let us know in the "Comments" section below!



Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

P.S. If you receive ExhibiTricks via email (or Facebook or LinkedIn) you will need to click HERE to go to the main ExhibiTricks page to make comments or view multimedia features (like videos!)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Looking Back to Move Forward: Top 10 ExhibiTricks Posts from 2016.


The Sankofa image above, a stylized bird looking back over its shoulder, comes from Ghana and represents the need to reflect on the past to build a successful future.  In that spirit, and with 2017 upon us, I offer ten ExhibiTricks posts worth reflecting on as we start the new year:


A Practical Guide to Museum Ethics: An Interview with Sally Yerkovich  Ethics seems like an important topic to consider, in museums and broader society, so Sally's book and interview are both worth a read.


Humor Me A Moment: The Power Of Humor In Museums  On a completely different note, Cara Dodge shared her thoughts on humor in museums, based on her research.


What Do You Mean By "The World's Best Museum" ?  Did you ever wonder why some projects never seem to get off the ground? Read this post to find out about one common reason for lack of project traction.


Edifice Complex and Museums Another common cause of "projectus interruptus" is the dreaded "Edifice Complex."


These three related posts all cluster around notions of customer service and healthy, robust institutions:





Among the super smart people that were featured on ExhibiTricks in 2016, I especially liked these posts featuring Nina Simon and Margaret Middleton:




Last, but not least, I'd feel remiss if I didn't highlight this 2016 post about one of my favorite museum/exhibit/design tools:




And with that, I'd like to wish every ExhibiTricks reader a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017. 

Are there any articles or resources from 2016 that you've been reflecting back on?  Please share in the "Comments" section below!



Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

P.S. If you receive ExhibiTricks via email (or Facebook or LinkedIn) you will need to click HERE to go to the main ExhibiTricks page to make comments or view multimedia features (like videos!)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The 2016 ExhibiTricks Picks for Your Museum/Exhibit/Design Reading List



As 2016 draws to a close, I thought I'd offer a quick list of resources for your museum/exhibit/design reading (or holiday gift giving!) list.

Each were featured in posts on ExhibiTricks in 2016, so you can click the links in the list below for the full article and/or more information about downloading or purchasing the resources.

Happy Reading!


The 2016 ExhibiTricks Picks

1) Exhibition Journal  If you are not already a subscriber, you are missing out on the best museum-related journal in the business. Top-notch themes, stories, and design.

2) Sacred and Stolen  Gary Vikan's insider account of his time as Director of the Walters Art Museum.  His stories give a funny (and scary!) view of the Art Museum world.

3) The SketchUp D'oh Book  A great resource for anyone who uses (or wants to start using) SketchUp.

4) The Art of Relevance  The latest must-have resource for your professional reference shelf from the indefatigable Nina Simon.

5) Exhibit Labels: An Interpretive Approach  The second edition of Beverly Serrell's industry-standard book on creating exhibit labels.

6) Interpretation: Making a Difference on Purpose  Author Sam Ham brings practical information to museum workers interested in interpretation, but he also shares what research tells us about how people process information.

7) A Practical Guide to Museum Ethics  As the director of the Institute of Museum Ethics at Seton Hall University, Sally Yerkovich brings her expertise to the fore in this interesting and useful book.

8) House of Lost Worlds  Richard Conniff puts together an enjoyable history of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. From its unlikely founding 150 years ago, the story is filled with both colorful characters and great moments in science centered around the amazing New Haven institution.



Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

P.S. If you receive ExhibiTricks via email (or Facebook or LinkedIn) you will need to click HERE to go to the main ExhibiTricks page to make comments or view multimedia features (like videos!)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

How Do You Use Pinterest In Your Design Work?


Pinterest is a great visual tool (organized into "boards" of images linked to websites) for museum/exhibit/design folks.

I'd like to gather your recommended Pinterest boards (as well as your Pinterest tips and tricks) for a future ExhibiTricks post (and free downloadable document) that can serve as a Pinterest compendium and resource.

One great way to use Pinterest is as a place to gather images and inspirations for projects in process (here's an example Pinterest board for a dinosaurs exhibition I'm working on.)

Pinterest can also be a great resource when looking for examples of interesting exhibition designs or ideas.  The indefatigable Elaine Gurian has a fantastic Pinterest site called "Museum Educator" that has a number of thematic boards related to topics such as "Museum Architecture" and "Label Ideas."

Another Pinterest favorite is the "Recognition" board which has super examples of donor recognition signage (with a bit of wayfinding, too!)

So click on over to Pinterest for some  inspiration, and then tell us about your favorite museum/exhibit/design Pinterest boards, as well as your best Pinterest tips and tricks, in the "Comments" section below.



Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

P.S. If you receive ExhibiTricks via email (or Facebook or LinkedIn) you will need to click HERE to go to the main ExhibiTricks page to make comments or view multimedia features (like videos!)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Coloring Outside The Lines: Exhibition Journal's New Look


NAME (The National Association for Museum Exhibition) has recently renamed and redesigned its journal, now called Exhibition.

The latest issue is entitled "Coloring Outside the Lines" and contains some fascinating articles that detail unique approaches toward exhibition development practice. NAME makes available two articles from the current issue of Exhibition online, as well as complete digital access to past issues via the Exhibition Journal's online archive. Check out the current free articles by clicking these links: "A Journey into the Uncharted: A Theatrical Collaboration Between Punchdrunk and the National Maritime Museum" and "Create. Connect. A History and STEM Mash-up."

Of course the very best way to access (and support!) Exhibition is by becoming a subscriber.  You can find out how to become a subscriber by clicking this link (and you do not need to be an AAM member to become an Exhibition subsciber.)

Last, but not least, if you've recently seen an exhibition that you'd like to share with colleagues via my "Exhibits Newsline" column, just send me an email for details, so we can get your contributions into a future issue of Exhibition!


Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

P.S. If you receive ExhibiTricks via email (or Facebook or LinkedIn) you will need to click HERE to go to the main ExhibiTricks page to make comments or view multimedia features (like videos!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Are Trump Voters Museum-Goers?



Are the people running museums really the best people to reach out to Trump voters as potential museum visitors?

The reason I ask, beyond the pragmatic concerns about the future of federal agencies like IMLS and NEH that help fund museums under a Trump administration, has to do with how and why people choose to visit (or not visit) museums.

It seems clear that emotions "trumped" more intellectual considerations of policy or character for many voters in this recent election. Might museums actually be better at increasing their audience reach if their appeal was more emotional and less intellectual?  (Of course, many museum experiences are deeply emotional, but that's only true for the people who actually step inside.)

Many cultural institutions (including museums) are facing declining audiences and funding streams in the face of shifting demographics and attitudes.  And while museum professionals constantly strive to broaden the communities they serve, should they be aiming more for potential visitors' guts rather than their heads? What can entice museum-shy or museum-adverse folks to cross the thresholds of our institutions?

What lessons should we be taking away from the election to Make Museums Great Again?


Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

P.S. If you receive ExhibiTricks via email (or Facebook or LinkedIn) you will need to click HERE to go to the main ExhibiTricks page to make comments or view multimedia features (like videos!)