Archive for April, 2008

Create a case study, write a review

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 by Wendy Pollock

ExhibitFiles members can post case studies of exhibits or exhibitions they’ve worked on and write reviews of exhibits (and exhibitions) they’ve visited. Consider contributing your experiences and reflections to this growing resource for the museum field.

You don’t have to complete your post all at once. It’s easy to work a little at a time, save a draft, and go back to it (you’ll find your drafts in your Profile—they’re visible only to you). You can email a draft to a friend. When you’re finished, click on Publish. Even then, you can go back in to make changes (choose the Edit link). Here’s some advice about how to get started:

Gather materials
Include images, a description, list of partners and people who worked on the exhibition, opening date, evaluation report, final project report, links to websites, and NSF grant award number if applicable. Important, too, are your reflections about what you learned and what would be valuable for your colleagues to know about.

Prepare your images
You can upload as many as 25 images. Organize them in the order you want to post them; it’s not yet possible to reorder them once they’re uploaded, and if you add later, that may shuffle the order. When displayed in a Case Study or Review, images are automatically sized (up or down) to 480 by 360 pixels. These images are then “clickable” allowing visitors to view them in their original size.

Start your draft
Log in, click on the “Add” tab, and choose to:
*Create a case study of an exhibition you’ve worked on—or of an exhibit (a single component or part of an exhibition)
*Write a review of an exhibition (or a single exhibit) you’ve seen in person
You’ll now see the entry form with prompts for creating your post.

Draft your post
For a case study of an exhibition, here’s what the form asks. For some items, there are drop-down boxes. * means the item is required.

Exhibition name*
Museum/organization name*
Museum focus
Exhibition opened in (yyyy)*
Exhibition still open (Y/N)
Traveling exhibition? (Y/N)
Country (and for U.S., state)
Exhibition description and goals*
Development process and challenges*
Lessons learned, mistakes we made (and what we did about them)*
Collaborating organization(s) and role (s)
People who worked on this exhibit (or exhibition) Choose “add” for additional text boxes for more than one person
What was your role?
NSF grant number
Other funding source(s)
Estimated cost (less than 100,000 to over 3 million)
Size of exhibition (less than 1,000 sq-feet to over 10,000 sq-feet)
Upload image(s) Click “browse” to find the location of the images on your computer. Up to 25 images can be uploaded. Images should be uploaded in the order you want them to appear. Click on “+caption,” and a text box will appear where you can add a caption for each image.

You can also upload other media files (pdf, doc, mpg, mp3, mp4, mov, swf), evaluation and visitor research reports, and other associated files. If reports are posted on (or another site), you can link to them.

A review follows a similar, but briefer, pattern, asking where and when you visited the exhibition and what your thoughts were. Check out other reviews to get ideas.

In some places you can add multiple items (e.g., names of people who worked on an exhibition, images, associated files). Fill in the box, then click on “add” to open another for your next entry (a new box will appear). Click on the “trash can” icon to delete entries.

New to ExhibitFiles? Tips to get you started

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 by Wendy Pollock

For those new to ExhibitFiles, you may be wondering what you can do now that you’ve set up an account. Here are a few ideas:Add a photo to your profile—Log in, click on the Profile tab, and look for “update thumbnail.” Choose “upload a new image” and browse your computer to locate an image of yourself. Mark the part you want as your thumbnail by clicking and dragging the box. Choose “edit profile” to add blog and Flickr feeds.Comment on a case study or review—When you comment, the person who posted the case study or review gets a message and knows someone’s been reading and thinking about the post.Favorite a post—As more material is added to the site, being able to browse by “popularity” helps users find their way around, and the more often a post is favorited, the higher its “popularity” ranking.Contact another member—If you want to get directly in touch with another registered ExhibitFiles member, you can usually contact them through a link in their profile (“contact this member”). To allow other members to contact you, check off a box you’ll find when you edit your profile.Create a case study, write a review—You can work on a draft, email it to someone else, and even after you publish your case study or review, you can still edit it.Tag—Actually, you don’t even have to be logged in to add a tag to a case study or review. This helps make the browse page more useful to everyone.And another tip:Use Firefox—If you don’t have this browser, you can download it free here.

Happy birthday, ExhibitFiles

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 by Wendy Pollock

ExhibitFiles reaches a milestone April 23 with the first anniversary of the site’s opening. Started with the support of a committed core group of exhibits people, the site has grown to include more than 650 members from around the world, who have generously shared their experiences and reflections in more than 100 case studies and reviews.

Over the past few months, we’ve fixed some bugs, added open tagging, and built a new browse page that lets users search and sort in a variety of ways. Based on feedback from members, we’re improving image uploading and making plans for a way to post media files with short notes as a quick alternative to longer case studies and reviews.

We also plan to start using this blog to highlight themes that have begun to emerge across a number of case studies and reviews. There’s been encouragement to take on issues that may seem like “downers,” advice about how to work with artists in science centers, the observation “that solid exhibit tradecraft… can make even the silliest subject engaging,” and much more. There’s a lot of experience and wisdom gathered here.

We’re grateful to all who’ve contributed, and to the National Science Foundation for its support. And we look forward to the next year, and beyond.


ExhibitFiles wins Best of the Web award

Friday, April 11th, 2008 by Wendy Pollock

ExhibitFiles is winner of the Best of the Web award for museum professional sites, annnounced today during the Museums & the Web conference in Montreal. The award recognizes achievement in web design for sites that support distributed activity and innovative work among museum professionals.

Congratulations and many thanks to the 636 members who’ve joined up, contributed content, and helped to critique the site, and especially to the core group that’s guided our work. And many thanks to all of the developers and designers at Ideum who’ve been working with us to conceive and build the site.


ExhibitFiles at Museums & the Web

Thursday, April 10th, 2008 by Wendy Pollock

Jim Spadaccini and I are in Montreal at Museums & the Web this week, looking forward to demonstrating the site on Saturday morning. If you’re here, please stop by and give us your ideas as we plan next steps.Wendy