This website is intended as an online tool and proposes a useful method for organising exhibitions in a variety of different situations; from the setting up of a trade show stand to the development of an exhibition for a cultural heritage institution.
The proposed method provides insight and guidance into the development of an exhibition, demonstrates how the development and design process can be structured and at which point each discipline should be involved. The website is useful for both clients, professionals, designers and students.
It is not intended that the method and underlying model are rigidly applied to the organisation of an exhibition. As with every model, this is meant to be used as a guide and to be adapted to the methods usually applied in a particular institution or to the specific demands that a certain project poses.
This website is based on Project Model Exhibitions written by Han Meeter, the author of this website, with Jan Verhaar at the end of the 1980s. There was broad interest in Project Model Exhibitions — not only was it used by the Reinwardt Academy (faculty of heritage studies at the Amsterdam School of the Arts), but also by several other programs and courses in the Netherlands and Belgium. There was also interest from abroad. Project Model Exhibitions was then also translated into English, Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian and Vietnamese. The financial aspects were re-fashioned into a contribution to the ICOM/ICEE publication Exhibition Budgeting 1.
The model has not been developed solely from theoretical concepts, but is based on practice. This was acquired through daily use in the author’s museological design and consulting firm, Projectburo Meeter. Furthermore, the ‘exhibition practicum’, given to the Reinwardt Academy since 1980, have also played a part. The guiding of students through exhibition projects, for the purpose of training and on behalf of external clients has increased understanding of how to systematically set up a manual so that it can be used as an everyday tool and reference book.
The model in this website has the same format and structure as Project Model Exhibitions but interprets the medium of exhibitions in a much broader sense and examines aspects of the design process in greater depth, making use of knowledge in areas such as perception, semiotics and the language of exhibitions.
Based on the idea that creating a commercial exhibition requires the same skills as a cultural exhibition — in short, they have a common underlying knowledge – arguments are put forth here to bring these worlds closer together in order to learn from each other. For the cultural world, the project-based, business-like, efficient and public-orientated nature of the commercial world is particularly interesting. The commercial world can learn a lot from the substance/content-oriented nature of cultural exhibitions, both in terms of conveying a story, a message, and regarding their translation into the design of the exhibition (applying exhibition language). This website provides an initiative in this direction. This new exhibition discipline is increasingly taking shape and is personified by the Exhibition Director. 2
- François Tremblay, Allegra Wright, Han Meeter Exhibition Budgeting (n.p., n.d.) issued in the series ICEE tools of the International Committee for Exhibition and Exchange of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) ↩
- The word director is used here in the sense of regisseur who, like a film producer essentially making an entire movie happen, implements an exhibition. In fact, this is a public-oriented conceptual thinking professional who controls inter-disciplinary exhibitions, able to run an exhibition project, can interpret content, communications, technical form and media and can manage production technology, and in addition has basic knowledge of modern insights in the field of exhibition techniques, multimedia and ICT applications. ↩