Friday, May 17, 2019

POW! Launches Museum FAQ Video Series

Paul Orselli Workshop (POW!) is pleased to announce the launch of the new Museum FAQ video series!  Click on over to the Museum FAQ webpage to view the first videos in a library that will be growing quickly.

Over the years, clients and colleagues have been asking Paul Orselli and POW! many "Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) about museum exhibit development and design, as well as other aspects of the museum business ranging from “What makes a great exhibit label?” to “What should I look for in a museum consultant?” We started the Museum FAQ video series to answer just those sorts of questions in a fun and informative way.
We’ve just started the library of Museum FAQ videos, so bookmark the Museum FAQ webpage and come back often to view new videos! 
Do you have your own Museum FAQ that you would like Paul to answer, or do you have a suggestion for a new Museum FAQ video? Just send Paul an email at paul@orselli.net with your questions or requests and you might see your own Museum FAQ featured in a new video soon!


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Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul is an instigator, in the best sense of that word. He likes to mix up interesting people, ideas, and materials to make both individual museum exhibits and entire museums with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.)

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Friday, May 10, 2019

Quick Inspiration: String Art


Check out this string art created with ultraviolet light or video projection.



For more images and information, click over to the artist's Facebook page or website.



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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

"Best Museum" Lists are the Worst


USA Today recently published something claiming to be "The Best Museum in Every State" list.

Aside from the incredibly stupid premise -- how would you compare two completely different types of museums, say the Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and claim one of them is the "best"?

The people who most often seem interested in these "best museum" lists are executive directors chasing donors or museum marketeers looking to turn out another press release.

Is there anything more pathetic than someone begging you to cast an online vote so that their museum can gain the "best" museum designation in the western suburbs of Boston or in small towns east of the Mississippi?

Do we really want our work recognized by giving ourselves flimsy PR bragging rights because of some bogus "best of" list?

You don't claim the title of "the best" for yourself in some cheesy marketing stunt, instead you do the hard work every day, with every visitor, to create amazing experiences so that they give you the title of "the best" by coming back to your museum again and again, and telling their friends and family to do the same.

As that great museum philosopher Jerry Garcia once said, 


"Don’t be the best. Be the only.”


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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Partnership Power



One of my favorite things about the museum business is the sharing that so often takes place between colleagues and creative partners. There is real power in partnership.

What an opportunity then to share with ExhibiTricks readers the products of three new partnership projects that we all can learn and benefit from.

The first is a new online resource called TMG Online Conversations.  TMG, in this case, stands for The Museum Group, consortium of independent museum professionals who work with museums to help them achieve their greatest potential in an ever-changing world. TMG Online Conversations builds on the tradition of TMG members presenting (in a conversational format) engaging topics of interest to the broader museum community. If you are in New Orleans for the 2019 AAM Conference, please keep an eye out for two Conversations programs that The Museum Group will be hosting on Tuesday, May 21st.  




The first TMG Online Conversation (click here to view the video recording on YouTube) brought together Marsha Semmel, a TMG member and noted independent consultant and author, with Jane Werner, Executive Director of The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh,  to join in conversation about what they've learned from years of community partnerships and the impact of those partnerships on each of their most recent projects -- in the case of Marsha, a new book called "Partnership Power Essential Museum Strategies for Today’s Networked World" and in Jane's case, an entire new museum, Museum Lab, that will join the existing cultural campus of the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.




I found some great professional takeaways from watching the recording of Jane and Marsha's Conversation, but one thing that really stood out for me was Jane's commitment to "investing in people instead of investing in stuff."

So here's to celebrating partnership power -- and Partnership Power!  I hope everyone will check out Marsha's new book, take a trip to Pittsburgh to visit the soon-to-open Museum Lab, and click over to YouTube to enjoy the very first TMG Online Conversation!



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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

In Solidarity -- Don't Stop


In solidarity with colleagues and citizens in places like France, Brazil, Libya -- where cultural history has been destroyed by accident, by neglect, by violence.  I say, "Don't Stop."

Working in the museum world can sometimes feel overwhelming. Days filled with administrative trivia, visitor complaints, and endless "to do" lists can, at times, wear even the most dedicated museum workers down.

Don't stop.

Find one thing today, even a little thing, that will make your museum better, and make you feel better about working there.

It could be a Social Media post about a fun new Education program.  A tweak to an exhibit to make it move from good to great.  Ordering a new entry mat to replace that worn out old one by the front door. Sincerely complimenting a co-worker on a job well done. A phone call to reconnect with a community partner.

All those little things add up --- for you, and your visitors.  There will always be things to rebuild, things to improve, but take time to look back at how far you have come, what you have built and accomplished, not just what is left undone.

Don't stop.




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Monday, April 8, 2019

Museum Elevators and Exhibit Design (Part 2)



I recently wrote a post about the underutilization of elevators for exhibit and graphic possibilities in museums.  Fortunately, ExhibiTricks readers responded with some nice examples which I'm happy to share below. 

Santa Cruz MAH (Museum of Art and History)

Nina Simon shared these thoughts about the "Screaming Hand" elevator wrap pictured at the top of this post: We LOVE using our elevator at the Santa Cruz MAH to shake things up and make people welcome. Our elevator always has two colorful chairs in it to invite people to sit. And a couple years ago, it became a living piece of Santa Cruz art and history with a wrap of the Screaming Hand (a worldwide skate icon started in our town). This photo of the interior of our elevator is our most liked Instagram post ever.



The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College

Mix a creative, interdisciplinary, contemporary art museum with a huge freight elevator and you get the "Elevator Music" series at The Tang -- a set of curated installations in the Museum's freight elevator.  You can find out more by following this link. And here are a few representative images of "Elevator Music" below:

Elevator Music 35
Ephraim Asili: Jazz Salt


Elevator Music 33  Up = Out: A Sun Ra Mixtape

Tillamook Visitor Center

Judy Rand shared this elevator immersion experience from the Tillamook Visitor Center in Tillamook, Oregon. You can ride up to the Tillamook cheese factory floor overlook surrounded by cheese curds. It’s a way to give factory visitors a peek at what goes on inside all those tall, mysterious stainless steel vats. 

Cheese Curds Photo Credit: (c) KATU



Great Lakes Science Center 

When the Great Lakes Science Center hosted the traveling "Body Worlds" exhibition they gave visitors a great "sneak peek" of what they might expect to see.  Great use of inside/outside elevator graphics!





History Colorado Center

ExhibiTricks reader Abby Krause, the Design & Production Director at History Colorado in Denver, was kind enough to share these two images from a recent exhibition:








And if your museum has no elevators:


North Carolina Transportation Museum

Tyler Trahan, a Historical Interpreter/Educator at the Museum shares that while the Museum has no elevators, they've found another unexpected venue for interpretive content: the restrooms! They've put labels next to the sinks in each of four public restrooms discussing the toilets aboard either trains or airplanes. They match in Men's and Women's rooms at each location so visitors can share a "Guess what I found!" moment after exiting the restroom. 







I really love the idea of using those underutilized spaces in museums where our visitors aren't expecting a fun graphic or exhibit to pop-up!   I'm still collecting stories and images of the creative uses of museum elevators (and restrooms!) to put together into a free, shareable resource.

So if you've got images/descriptions you'd like to contribute, feel free to email them to me at info@orselli.net






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