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Middle Schoolers Become Exhibit Makers at theNAT

Exhibits are at the heart of the museum experience for most people, but how is an exhibit made? What are necessary steps to see an exhibit come to life? And what do exhibits teams do exactly? This is exactly what a group of middle school campers learned last summer.

A new exhibition takes years to make its way through development, design, fabrication, and installation. In our Exhibit Makers summer camp, this process is compressed into five days, giving campers a glimpse into the process of making an exhibit. By definition, an exhibit is a single component or individual display that often serves as one part of a larger exhibition. Campers meet with our exhibits professionals, scientists, and educators throughout the week to gain a better understanding of their roles in the process.

The first two days of camp are dedicated to developing and designing our exhibit. Campers brainstorm a long list of ideas that are winnowed using the Museum’s mission, material limitations (including access to specimens), spatial constraints, and a tight schedule as filters to develop the content. Then the design process gets campers out in the galleries measuring spaces, drawing plans, and working through all of the little choices that make a big difference in the final work.

The fabrication process is where the exhibit takes physical form, as campers participate in making all the components that comprise an exhibit, such as specimen displays, cabinets, labels, and interactive elements.

Finally, the campers install their exhibit in the Museum, which brings all of the elements together into a coherent package in the gallery space, and get to celebrate the opening with family and Museum staff.

Last summer, campers created two stand-alone exhibits entitled Cats: Discover the Beasts at Home and Natural Myth-Conceptions. Both were displayed on the Museum floor for weeks and enjoyed by many visitors.

Exhibit Makers is offered to students in grades 6-8, and there’s still space available for this year's experience. Visit our website to register today!

Posted by The Nat.

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