Dirk Houtgraaf

Page 25

The ingredients we emphasize are: 1. the knowledge and information that the museum wishes to transmit, referred to as the content; and the translation of the content into two- and three-dimensional designs (starting from the DNA of the museum and its vision / mission) 2. the educational model used, and the importance of educational tools 3. authenticity and objects versus storytelling 4. the composition of the exhibition development team 5. the stakeholders organized 6. visitor and visitor research in the concept, storyline and design phases 7. the timeline organized, i.e. the dependency of (sub)phases and staged decision moments 8. the budget needed and organized to accomplish the project 9. the digital toolset adding exhibition options, and as an extended world in itself 10. text writing There is more. Exhibition planning will most likely also include components, such as security, retail, the development of marketing and PR-plans, fund-raising plans and such. The opening and maintenance of an exhibition will require additional considerations too. While important, the items listed we consider essential to the installation development process itself and therefore are examined in greater detail. More on content development We make an extra effort to introduce our tools for the establishment of the exhibition concept and then its spatial storyline, leading to the development of the design and text components. There is a reason for this. We do consider the content of an exhibition, in its broadest sense, as an essential power we museums have. It is at the same time one of the ‘thorny’ issues in the development phases. A clear work process really can relieve the inherent tensions here.


Anything new?

As said before, the whole process as such is established museum practice, though with significant variations. This practice is hardly ever written down however, and many of us have to learn it by doing. So, a written manual can be of great help. And we do come up with some new elements on content development. Though still not rocket science, these tools could be really helpful. Anyway, there is no absolute truth and more ways are leading to Rome. The methodology is a frame. Feel free to adapt it to your culture, institution, organization or personal experiences and beliefs. The only warning here: if you have your own elements, do it beforehand, do write them down, and communicate the adapted methodology. In any other case: just hand over this book to everyone involved.