Exhibits with Impact

Coco Chanel advised, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” When it comes to accessories, some is good and more is more. The same can be said about exhibit cases. We often get caught up in our own stories, lost in the jewel boxes of our collections and consumed with getting as much on display (and out of cramped storage rooms) as possible. I encourage you to edit. Choose the pieces that truly support the story you’re telling–or challenge it, or re-frame it, or embellish it–and use only those. Choose the best example from your collection: I promise that single piece will have more impact than 10 mediocre versions do. Give your artefacts room to breathe and your visitors’ eyes space to rest. And when you think you’re done, channel you inner Chanel and consider taking one last piece out.
over-stuffed exhibit case with an unclear message, hard-to-read labels, and poor presentation. Museum name withheld to protect the guilty.
In contrast, these cartes-de-visite are cleanly mounted, nicely aligned, and pleasing to the eye. The label to the side keeps the presentation neat. Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, New Zealand

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