Last edited: September 16, 2013

Introduction to the Website

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

For the sake of read­abil­ity, this web­site is writ­ten in the mas­cu­line form.
  1. 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)
  2. 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.