Our First Official Museum-Goers: First Exhibit Preview

Exhibit objects with their exhibit labels in preparation for our first exhibit run-through.

Exhibit objects with their exhibit labels in preparation for our first exhibit run-through. Photo by the author.

Today, the Under Connecticut Skies museum had its very first visitors. The museum is in its first draft state, and the purpose of inviting people in was to receive preliminary feedback on the script and overall flow of the exhibit. Our VIP guests? Jessie Cohen’s Museum Collections class members. Jessie Cohen is Wesleyan’s Archaeological Collections Manager and Repatriation Coordinator, and this semester she is teaching a course on museology entitled: “Museum Collections: Ethical Considerations and Practical Applications.” So Jessie and her class gathered up at the Van Vleck Observatory for their Thursday class while Amrys, Roy, Paul, and I hustled to clean up the library a bit and get all objects and labels in place.

With everything more or less in order, we opened the gates to the museum exhibit!

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First students get a glance at the Under Connecticut Skies exhibit. Instructor Jessie Cohen at center of photograph. Photo by the author.

About half of the students went to the left, and the other half to the right. The exhibit is designed to have a specific starting point yet should still be comprehensible when explored in any order.

Students take a closer look at the exhibit.

Students take a closer look at the exhibit. Photo by the author.

After spending some time wandering through the exhibit, Amrys, Jessie, and all of the students sat down around the library’s tables for a reflection on the exhibit experience.

Discussing reflections on the exhibit experience.

Exhibit objects with their exhibit labels in preparation for our first exhibit run-through. Photo by the author.

Feedback was mostly positive! There was some confusion about the best way to proceed throughout the exhibit, everyone thought the exhibit holds some pretty cool objects, and there were several mentions of Beverely Serrel’s exhibit bible Exhibit Labels: An Interpretative Approach. All in all, I scribbled down over two pages of notes from our 15 minute discussion.

Thanks so much to Jessie and her class for coming in and helping us out! Amrys said having our first official visitors really helped the team churn out those drafts of the exhibit labels and kick us into cleaning up the library. Even though at this state our labels are hung up throughout the exhibit by masking tape, the exhibit is coming along smoothly! I hope the class members return to the exhibit once its truly completed and can see how their feedback helped tremendously in getting the exhibit take its final form.

 

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