July 6th, 2006 by Wendy Pollock

Welcome! We’re working on development of a community website for the science center and museum exhibit field, and we’d like you to be involved. We’ll be posting documents and updates on this site over the next several months and welcome your comments and participation in shaping design of the site.The concept is to build a rich resource of information about exhibits and exhibitions, along with ways of commenting and contributing. A core group of exhibit developers, designers, and prototypers is already committed to building the initial exhibit records, and we look forward to contributions of other colleagues.Why ExhibitFiles?Exhibition information available through existing, open sources like print publications, listservs, conference sessions, and institutional websites is scattered, spotty, often promotional in nature, and, over time, difficult to locate. Exhibits people typically rely on personal memories and social networks to fill in the gaps; but the high level of turnover in the science center and museum field, and retirement and passing of older colleagues, mean much of the history is being lost. By building a collaborative community site with a rich and growing set of exhibition records at its core, we hope to preserve this history and support development of a culture of critique.Inspiration Initial planning for ExhibitFiles was guided by analysis of postings on the ISEN-ASTC-L discussion list, consultation with exhibit colleagues, and analysis of websites with relevant features. We were also inspired by the Exploratorium conference and book Are We There Yet? Conversations about Best Practices in Science Exhibition Development, which includes 12 case studies of noteworthy exhibitions; and other publications, like the three-volume Cheapbook of Exhibit Ideas, compiled and edited by Paul Orselli.At the Exploratorium’s conference, Michael Spock, formerly of the Field Museum and the Children’s Museum, Boston, commented that “many of the really great ideas are ephemeral. They’re developed, used, and gone. One of the things that might be done is some kind of collecting activity to retrieve memories of things that were wonderful. You can’t go back in time, but you could use that collective memory to go on and do new exhibitions.” It’s our hope that, together, we’ll be building and sharing our collective memory.

One Response to “Welcome”

  1. Ideum Weblog » Blog Archive » ExhibitFiles: Development Blog Says:

    [...] For now, we’ve created a development blog for the project partners to post evaluation and design documents and to solicit feedback from our core contributors and others in the field. It just went up yesterday but we’ve already posted a few things that might be of interest. The Welcome message describes the ExhibitFiles project in more depth, a User Needs Assessment Summary provides information about the potential users of the site, and our own Competitive Analysis document explores some of the potential features of the ExhibitFiles website. [...]