Creating an exhibit requires not just all the curatorial tools (planning, designing, prototyping, and others) but also an “open mind.”
My team and I are responsible for developing a Satellite Display in Cavanaugh Hall on the IUPUI Campus. The task reminded me of a display I saw back in India before coming here, in Udyog Bhawan Metro Station, New Delhi, where the National Museum, my old workplace, created a display to promote the museum’s vast collection of artifacts dating from pre-historic times to colonialism. The objects on view were replicas.
I kept this example in mind when working on my group’s Satellite Display. When teams presented proposals for satellite displays at off-campus locations this week, they also inspired our thinking about how to refine our in-progress proposal.
Our team is working on the area around the Museum Studies Program office on the fourth floor of Cavanaugh Hall. We have chosen to locate our exhibit on one of the bulletin boards that currently shows information about our program. The big task was picking the objects that could go on the board (No replicas, no sir, not this time!!). We selected two objects that can convey a strong message to our target audience, but one question remains: Are we sure we have chosen the right objects for our location and audience? With a long list of collections for review and having second thoughts about whether we have chosen suitable objects for our location as we approach our deadline, I have realized that selecting the correct objects for the Satellite Display is not as easy as it looks. Many times, when you choose objects for your display, deep inside something from the heart starts giving you second thoughts. I’ve also realized that this is not something to be scared about. This is a part of the experience and nurturing every portion of it will help you develop more skills in curatorial practices. Getting stressed out about it would lead you nowhere and could affect the things you are doing right now, something that is centered around a positive idea.
In the end I remember this quote by Chris Guillebeau
“If Plan A fails, remember there are 25 more letters.”
Parth Chaubey is a second-year M.A. student in the IUPUI Museum Studies Program.