Saturday, June 7, 2008

Museum Exhibit Design: "Unexhibitable" Topics?

The question about "taboo exhibit topics" recently came up on the ExhibitFiles Blog: "Are there topics you, or others you know, consider “unexhibitable”? The AAM’s National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME) wants to hear about them. The Fall 2008 issue of the NAME journal, Exhibitionist, will consider this and related questions, and the editor, Gretchen Jennings, and Boston Museum of Science exhibit developer Maureen McConnell are looking for comments and reflections..."

Personally, I think any topic, if handled thoughtfully, is "exhibitable."

I recently came across many wonderful examples of just about any topic being fair game for an exhibition while judging the final projects of the graduating students from the Fashion Institute of Technology's Graduate Exhibition Design program. The students created proposals, models, and graphics packages for topics ranging from "Cheese" to "Air and Giving Birth" to "Chopsticks". All of the presentations were excellent!

While one might think that sensitive topics involving sex or human cruelty would be difficult to exhibit, there are of course entire museums on Sexuality, Medical Oddities, and The Holocaust that disprove such a premise.

What do you think? Let us know in the Comments Section below or check out (or add to!) the very interesting comments and discussion on the ExhibitFiles Blog, or contact Gretchen Jennings directly (Her email is: if you would like to contribute your thoughts to the upcoming issue of Exhibitionist.

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