How the Exhibits Get Made: An Intern’s Perspective

How the Exhibits Get Made: An Intern’s Perspective


How the Exhibits Get Made: An Intern’s Perspective

By David McDevitt

As of today, my first ever history exhibit has been put on display in the third floor reading room of the Ohio History Center! The topic is a letter that provides an Ohioan’s first-hand account of a Confederate raid on a Union held town during the Civil War. I wrote up a longer and more detailed blog post here>; I encourage you to check that out to learn more. The exhibit displays two short exhibition labels, which describe the letter, as well as the first four pages of the original document itself.

The design team did all the (outstanding) work in terms of setting the exhibition up, although I wrote the exhibition labels. Though I’ve been to quite a few museums in my day, I never really considered how the labels were made and the work that goes into them until I had to write them myself. Despite often being pretty brief, there’s quite a bit of work and thought that goes into it; entire books have been written on the subject! The labels’ limited length means that each word must be chosen with extra care. Every exhibit label has to be constructed so as to educate the reader, but care must also be taken to keep the text concise enough that the visitor develops and maintains interest.

It was really exciting and gratifying to see the materials on display, even if the exhibition is pretty small. It provides some sense of completion to the whole project, which I’ve been working on in various capacities since July, and it is genuinely exciting to share such an interesting part of our collections with the public. The third floor reading room is accessible to the general public Wednesday-Saturday from 10am-5pm, so swing by and check it out while you’re visiting all the other great collections we have on display!


Posted January 24, 2018
Topics: Civil War

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