Sunday, November 21, 2010


While reading Nina Simon's chapter on collaboration, it hit me how important collaboration really is when putting together exhibits and events at museums. Keeping the community involved in the planning stage is important because it allows them to feel as if they are a part of something bigger.  If they are involved with the project, it will bring more of the public in to actually see the exhibit, and would hopefully garner more support among the public to come and visit the museum!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Almost Done! =]

Well I have finally finished the initial part of my project. The dossier is done, it just needs to be proofread, and my storyboard is done as well. I'm so excited to have the brunt of the work finished!! I have been working on a powerpoint to help me out with my presentation and that should be done by tomorrow! It feels like all the hard work is finally paying off =]

Friday, November 12, 2010

Project Update

It is finally coming together! I went to JoAnn Fabrics and Sherwin Williams and have purchased fabric samples and paint samples for my storyboard. The storyboard design needs to be put together but I am waiting to find a few more finishing touches, before putting it all together. I have also started coming up with an outline of my dossier to help make the actual paper a little easier to put together!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Visitor Contributions!

Nina Simon's chapter on visitors contributions to exhibits, by donating/lending their ideas or belongings, and even by making comments for the exhibit, reminded me of a similar exhibit I had been to. In the fall of 2008, I had a chance to go to Dublin and see the Guinness Storehouse. The whole place is a museum on the history of Guinness beer in Ireland. It was not only very different and creative, but it was also a lot of fun and was educational (it tied the history of the company in with some of Irish history as well). Near the end of the exhibit, there was a station for visitors to post comments/thoughts on the exhibit on a wall for future visitors to read. It was cool because people posted things about what they did/didn't like about Guinness, or the museum. Most cards also showed where people were from so it put some things in perspective on the beer. Perspectives like where in the world its sold, what people like about it or don't like about it, and how it must be popular if people come from all over the world to see the museum. It made the exhibits on how it is made interesting and further pushed Arthur Guinness' (the founder) conviction that people would buy it all over the world, and that it would be famous for years, even if people thought he was crazy for signing a lease for 9,000 years!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Crunch time..

Well this weekend I have every intention of starting to work on the storyboard. I'm hoping I can go to Sherwin Williams and JoAnn Fabrics to find some supplies, although I think I have most of what I need already. I'm also hoping that with the storyboard starting to come together, I should be able to work on the dossiere and it will (hopefully) come together better than its been coming so far...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Making Visitor Experiences Memorable

I liked what Simon pointed out in our readings about how some museums seek to make the audience feel as if they are part of something. She uses The Power of Children exhibit at the Indianapolis Children's Museum as an example. I think that talks/videos that make visitors feel as if they too are experiencing that event, can have a profound impact on them. The docents who portray important characters from the time can make the visitors think about these historic events and ask questions to make them think. I think this does affect them more than seeing an exhibit with objects could though. It causes them to evoke more emotions and question things that they might not normally question.

Project Update

Well I can't believe that the semester is almost over (I think there are 5 weeks left?!) and that the due date for this project is slowly creeping up on me. While I've been trying to piece it together, I feel like I haven't been doing much of anything, and I definitely need to start working on it a little bit harder... So my goal for the next week is to sit down and make an outline of what I still need to do, what I have done and maybe start working on my presentation and storyboard!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Visitor Experience

In this week's readings, John Falk sums up the importance of visitor experiences with his Museum Visitor Experience Model. I think that so far all of the readings have summed up bits and pieces of this model, but when I saw it all put together, it seemed like a lot to take in. Falk points out the various reasons why people visit, what they want to see, that sometimes they already have their minds made up about an exhibit (or an object), and that no matter what everyone is going to have different experiences. Some of these experiences will be very memorable, while others will not enjoy it at all and eventually forget about their visit. I just hope that when it is my time to work in a museum that more visitors will leave pleased by what they have seen and come back more often to see additional exhibits or participate in events!

Friday, October 22, 2010


This week our homework was to send a survey to some people about our projects to evaluate our audiences. The purpose was to see how much they already understood about our topics and if they would be interested in an exhibit like the one we are designing. A survey would also help us understand if we are meeting our goals for our potential audience and if they are taking something away from our exhibits.
When I emailed some friends and family with the questions, I was shocked at a few answers and laughed at some of the more sarcastic ones. My survey sought to answer these questions. I have bolded the correct answers.

What female represented women in the workforce during World War II?
A. Eleanor Roosevelt
B. Rosie the Riveter
C. Marilyn Monroe
D. Amelia Earhart

2. The majority of women worked outside the home before World War II?

3. Are you interested in women's history?
A. I have better things to worry about
B. A little
C. Very interested
D. Proud feminist/ women's history buff

4. During World War II, men and women, young and old, were involved in the war effort in what ways? (Circle all that apply)
A. working in factories producing weapons for soldiers
B. Planting victory gardens
C. Buying war bonds

D. None of the above

5. Would you be interested in an exhibit on the role of women during World War II?

6. What is your gender?

7. Age?
Under 18
Over 65

8. Are you (Circle all that apply)
A. a World War II vet?
B. Veteran of any war?
C. employee that produced war goods during World War II?
D. employee that has produced war goods for ANY war?
E. student?
F. student studying/interested in history?
G. teacher?
H. history teacher?
I. interested in World War II history?
J. interested in history?
K. not interested in history?

Obviously, most of these answers differ based on who I asked and what their personal opinions are. Of the 60 people I sent surveys too, only about 17 have responded so far. The results of my survey are as follows:

1. What female represented women in the workforce during World War II?
-The answer was B Rosie the Riveter. She was a fictitious mascot released by the War Production Co-Ordinating Committee to garner support among women, both working and staying at home. 12 out of 17 answered this question correctly. The other 5 answered A. Eleanor Roosevelt. I could actually understand (to an extent) why they would answer this one though.

2.The majority of women worked outside the home before World War II?
-The answer was False, most women stayed at home prior to WW2. 16 out of 17 answered this question correctly.

3.  Are you interested in women's history?
-This answer was more open ended based on personal opinions. 9 out of 17 answered with B that they had a little interest. The other 8 responded with C that they were definitely interested. 
-One of the people who responded with B had a good point though. He stated that unless this exhibit was part of a larger exhibit on World War II, he would probably not be interested at all. Definitely an interesting point to think about!

4. During World War II, men and women, young and old, were involved in the war effort in what ways? (Circle all that apply)
-The correct answers to this question were A, B, and C. 15 people said A, B, and C were the answers. 1 person said A and B were correct and 1 person said just A was correct. 

5. Would you be interested in an exhibit on the role of women during World War II?
-For this answer, I was expecting females to answer with yes, and males to answer no. However I was shocked to find out that everyone answered yes, with the exception of 1 person. 

6. What is your gender?
- 4 out of 17 that responded are males, the rest were females. I wasn't really surprised by this because I wasn't expecting any guys to answer it at all, let alone 4!

7. Age
-4 people were 18 or younger
-10 people were between the ages of 19 and 25 (I was definitely expecting this because most of the people who responded are close friends of mine)
-1 person was between the ages of 26 and 35
-2 people were between the ages of 46 and 55

8. Are you (Circle all that apply)
A. a World War II vet? 0
B. Veteran of any war? 0
C. employee that produced war goods during World War II? 0
D. employee that has produced war goods for ANY war? 0
E. student? 13
F. student studying/interested in history? 5
G. teacher? 1
H. history teacher? 0
I. interested in World War II history? 10
J. interested in history? 12
K. not interested in history? 1

Monday, October 18, 2010

Social Objects

In our readings for this past week, Nina Simon focused a lot on social objects in an exhibit. She pointed out that sometimes, objects can actually do more than just look pretty in a case, they can actually facilitate conversation amongst visitors about it. One of these kinds of objects that came to my mind is the Hope Diamond. I know that I have not seen it in years, but distinctly remember going to the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History to see the Diamond. Other visitors that were looking at it seemed to all be having the same kinds of conversations about it. They commented on how beautiful it is, how large, how much money it has to be worth, how anyone could afford something like that... etc. I thought this was an interesting twist on exhibitions in museums. Sure, some interactives will give visitors something to talk about, but you almost never think about the way an object will cause visitors to interact amongst each other!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Project Update...

My Rosie exhibit is coming along, slowly but surely. Midterms were this past week so to be honest, I wasn't thinking as hard about this project because of them. But I have started to plan on my storyboard and think about how I want to lay it all out. I'm hoping that in the next day or two I can actually start playing around with the layout and how I want to present my ideas!

Monday, October 4, 2010


While reading Nina Simon's book this week, I was a little confused by the whole recommendation systems she mentioned. I thought it was cool how she compared these recommendations to ideas like Netflix to make them easily understood, but I was a little confused as to how they actually fit in with museums. I understand that museums are always looking for ways they can improve their visitor satisfaction but I'm unsure as to how using recommendations from visitors are going to achieve that. I mean they can certainly use these suggestions, but there is no way they would be able to do all of the suggestions given by visitors!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Well as far as being able to present my project idea I have a few ideas. I'm still thinking about a light blue color for the walls because I think it would fit in with the main photo of Rosie. I also think a factory kind of floor would be cool. Something metal to make the visitor feel as if they were walking into a factory to work. The materials could even be presented in the same way to get visitors to feel as if they are women entering a factory to work for the first time...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Museums and Facebook?!

In the readings from Nina Simon this week, she made a good point about making museums relevant to every different group of visitors that come to your museum. You need to have something to spark their interest and keep them coming back to visit... or at least telling their friends about  what they liked. She says that your museum needs to be more audience centered to make it friendly to these people. She kept mentioning about social networking that allows museums to keep in contact with everyone. As soon as she said this, I couldn't help but think of Facebook. It seems like everyone has a page nowadays, including museums. I know that I am a fan of several local museums on Facebook and am constantly receiving updates from them about programs, exhibits, discounts etc. I've even seen trivia questions posted as statuses to win free prizes or tickets. To me, it seems like the perfect idea. You can find out so much about a person by posting on your museum's Facebook something like "What do you like most about us?" or "what do you dislike most?" Anyone can answer, and some people will be very honest about their experiences at your museum. It would make things so much easier for you to get an understanding of what makes people happy and unhappy.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Other Ideas for the project

I know that if I were actually putting on an exhibit, I would definitely need other ideas and designs for it, not just the objects on display. I thought about some audio visual pieces for it. Maybe oral history interviews with women who were involved in the workforce during World War II. My only reservation is that videos can be boring sometimes! But it would definitely go along with the exhibit itself.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Making Memorable Visitor Experiences

While reading Falk and Simon's books on identifying and catering to the specific needs of museum visitors, I couldn't help but think how difficult it really is to please visitors. Both Falk and Simon gave different ideas on ways to not only get the visitor involved, but also to get an idea of what kinds of people visit your museum. I think conducting interviews (like the one Falk did at the National Gallery on pages 91-100) is a great way to get an understanding of who comes, but I can say from personal experience that by the time a visitor is approached about taking a survey, they are usually tired, ready to leave and not willing to take those extra few minutes. While I was working at one particular museum as a volunteer/intern, I was assigned to sit at a table during an event and try to get visitors to fill out a survey about their visit. The survey only took about 3-5 minutes... but the more people I asked, the more rejections I got. This particular museum usually takes about 1 1/2 hours to look through, but this particular weekend they were hosting their largest event of the year and we're expecting thousands of people. So between waiting in line for tickets, and then slowly actually getting to see the museum, most visitors were probably staying about 2-3 hours. And of course, don't forget the gift shop with all of the fun souvenirs... and more long lines. I was not counting at the time, but I would say that about every 100 people that I asked about filling out the survey, maybe only 5-10 did it. I think using more creative ways to determine who your audience is and what they like is probably more efficient and even a little more exciting for the visitors than filling out a survey that says what they like/didn't like about their visit!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oh Rosie...

For this upcoming class we were to come up with an interpretive label for our exhibits. I wasn't sure what to use until I found a painting of Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell. At first I thought it was kind of interesting because it is so different from the Rosie picture released by the War Production Co-Ordinating Committee in 1943. But when one of my room mates saw the picture, she pointed out a few things that really angered me. First off, if you were to take out Rosie's head in the Rockwell photo, she has the body of a man. And second, in her left hand she is holding a sandwich. Really Rockwell?! What is that supposed to mean?!?! Well as angry as I was about it, I decided to use it anyways. As an interpretive label I thought I could use the Rockwell version as well as the famous Rosie and let my "visitors" decide for themselves what they think and which Rosie looks more realistic to them!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Exhibit Development and Design Project

So for my project for Exhibit Development and Design, I was thinking about incorporating a part of history that I really like into the exhibit. I was originally thinking of doing something related to Rosie the Riveter because I love World War II history, especially anything that relates to the female contribution. At first I wasn't sure if that's what I really wanted to do, but I have decided to do it. I was worried I wouldn't find enough sources and artifacts for this pseudo-exhibit... but the more I think about it the better it sounds. I think if I was actually making a real exhibit on Rosie, I would definitely be able to find plenty of pieces for it! I'm very excited about this project because I feel like it's way past due for an exhibit that credits women for what they did during World War II.

Museum Identity

In his book, "Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience," John Falk cites a study done by Kristin Ellenbogen about families visiting museums together. Her study came to the conclusion that families go to visit museums to build identity, especially an identity as a family. I definitely have to agree with this study. Throughout my life, my family and I always visited museums on vacation (maybe that's why I'm going into the museum field?!). Vacations to the ocean or over-the-top tourist spots were always too expensive, and kind of boring! Growing up in Cleveland we had plenty of museums within our reach and no matter what day of the week it was, they were always exciting places where we could have fun and learn at the same time. I feel as if we are some of the only people that still do that though. Even in his book, Falk stated that many Americans would prefer to go to beaches (page 42) on vacation. I can't even imagine how bored I would be sitting in a sand pit for a week straight when I can find about ten better things to do... like visit a museum! I feel though that all the times I have spent in a museum with my family really have shaped who we are. I can count those experiences as some of the most memorable because we were out doing something and learning something together!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pleasing Visitors...

While reading the assigned pages for John Falk's book "Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience and Nina Simon's book, "The Participatory Museum", I decided that I have to agree with what both authors are saying. It is extremely difficult to understand the reactions of guests when it comes to different exhibits. Based on even my own experience of working in museums, I can understand the problems that arise. When I worked as an intern at a sports museum, kids (especially boys) loved it. If they liked the particular sport, and understood it, they seemed to be in seventh heaven. Kids also loved the last part of the museum where they could play all sorts of different video games related to the museum. But young girls and women do not seem to enjoy it as much as the men. If they are like me, and don’t like most sports to begin with, they would not even have an interest in it. The same goes for different groups of people. Fans of different teams or of different sports would have different experiences in the exhibits.
The same held true for my experience as a docent at a women's history museum. Men always seem to hate coming because they say "dresses aren’t their thing." Women on the other hand, always seem to have a good experience because it represents more than just dresses, but also the struggles and achievements of women throughout history. Kids however, are always a challenge. Most children have no interest in women’s history. But kids still come to the museum. Catering to their wants and needs can always be a huge problem because they have such short attention spans. I want to make sure that they can learn something while they’re there, but it is difficult. We would usually give most kids a scavenger hunt that keeps them alert and focused for the different items to find, but only younger children are interested in them. Once kids get to about fourth or fifth grade, they don’t want to do scavenger hunts anymore, but what else is there to give them?!
That is definitely one of my goals for this class, to allow me to find a better way to focus on the needs of everyone, kids and adults, male and female so that more people feel happy and satisfied after visiting a museum!