Dirk Houtgraaf

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1. There is a method in this madness 1.1.

The scope of this publication and its audience Why on earth would you want to make an exhibition? Developing exhibitions, and to actually build and exploit them, requires a kind of madness. For one thing, there is no doubt that an exhibition is one of the most complicated media to get a story across. When finished and open for visitors, the participating audience wanders freely around, without even bothering to read your storyline. Then secondly, it is an expensive medium. To develop and build a storyline in three dimensions, with the diversity of media and expertise involved, is a stressful, intense and costly process. And thirdly, you hardly can call it a modern medium. Its essence might not have changed in a hundred years. In addition, they are strongly linked with museums, an institution which hardly can be seen as a forerunner in modern times. However, exhibitions are still very popular and do attract even growing audiences. It is clear some aspects of museums have proved to be very competitive as attractions. Also, department stores, hotels, restaurants, airports and other locations are increasingly adopting the language of exhibitions and sceneries as a tool for involving their audience. The real, the physical and the authentic might be the (a) explanation, the key to the success of museums. Experiencing ‘the real thing’. That is at least what we, the authors, think and what we hope for. An interesting sideline: the growing popularity of events, festivals, events and festivals and the like fits into the thinking that experiencing and the authentic are more and more important. We do believe so, even after the pandemic COVID-19 lock-down we all experienced. A methodology for building these successful but complicated storytelling constructs You would expect a full-grown, proven and tested methodology ready with so many exhibitions a year during the long years of museums. This is not the case, however. Yes, there are some descriptive, basic methodologies in some books or website1 and some good guidelines too. But there seems hardly anything in-depth on the planning process, in such a way that a developer can immediately use it. Copy-paste ready so to say. And easy. An easy-to-use, ready-made methodology would save time, energy and money, as there is no easy-to-use methodology yet. Many of us do re-invent it during the development process, which is a waste of time. Moreover, there often is too much ambiguity in the process, as each and every new exhibition development frequently starts with a new aggregation of people, with different experiences and different ways of doing things. Frustrating complications therefore are almost innate in the process.

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