Archive for May, 2008

Unexhibitable?

Sunday, May 25th, 2008 by Wendy Pollock

House of Terror, BudapestAre there topics you, or others you know, consider “unexhibitable”? The AAM’s National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME) wants to hear about them. The Fall 2008 issue of the NAME journal, Exhibitionist, will consider this and related questions, and the editor, Gretchen Jennings, and Boston Museum of Science exhibit developer Maureen McConnell are looking for comments and reflections now. We also hope you’ll share any case studies and reviews here on ExhibitFiles to build up our collective record. We’ve already seen some examples (was the House of Terror in Budapest a concept that would have been considered impossible 30 years ago?).

More specifically, what Gretchen and Maureen want to know is: If there are ideas or topics you consider to be “unexhibitable” — that is, incapable of being made into an engaging museum exhibition — why is that? These are some of the reasons people have already mentioned:

- too controversial or sensitive
- too violent
- too revolting or disgusting
- too abstract
- too ordinary or insignificant
- untimely – could/could not have been exhibited years ago (or perhaps could e in a few years), but not now
- constrained by place – my museum/country could/could not do it, as opposed to another museum/country

On the other hand, if you think there is nothing that cannot be exhibited, could you share your thinking? Post your comments right here in the ExhibitFiles blog — or write to Gretchen or Maureen. If you’re willing to have your comments considered for inclusion in the issue, please respond by June 15 and identify yourself so they can contact you.