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ASIAN 2272 - Food and Asia: A Guide to Exhibition Creation: Home

How to do research and select items for a course-related library exhibition

Your Mission: To Curate a Successful Exhibition

The curated exhibition (meaning a display in which you select what to include, rather than simply presenting a fixed set of objects) is a balancing act between the intellectual and the material, between mental and sensory stimuli.  Within a circumscribed (and thus focused) space, you will present select objects either because they are consummate representations of ideas you wish viewers to reflect upon or because they are related to such themes and have eye-catching visual appeal.  When you are very lucky, an item may check both boxes, but more often your task will be to strive to create a balance between the excitement of ideas and the excitement of material forms, to engage both the senses and minds of viewers, and to capture both the physical and intellectual qualities of the class of objects that you are representing with your selection. 

Another dimension of the challenge before you is the creation of a sense of fullness within this severely limited space available to you for display.  The sense of fullness is typically achieved through variety, again of both ideas and physical forms.  An exhibit is a haiku poem, not an extended essay, and there is no room for repetition, slow development, or stating the obvious.  You can suggest the broader paradigms of your themes by covering an assortment of the elements within them and integrating them together into some structure in your text.  You will want to have material variety as well (different sizes, colors, types of items,) and likely regional variety if your case is on a more abstract theme. 

Obviously, all of these conflicting criteria (mental/sensory appeal, broad representation of types, themes, regions etc.) make the creation of a perfect exhibition "mission impossible."  But you can come close!  Today we'll cover how to enrich the intellectual side of your displays through academic research, and the material side through engagement with the items that CUL offers on its shelves.

Make Your Exhibit Full of Flavor, Variety, Color and Appeal

When Problems Come Up....

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Dan Mckee
173 Kroch Library