Workshop: Exhibit Makeovers

Interpretive exhibits bring objects, images, and ideas to life for visitors through storytelling, diverse presentation media, and learning opportunities that engage multiple types of intelligence. In this workshop, you’ll learn the basics of exhibit planning, organization, text writing, and design. Drawing on resources of the host institution, working hands-on in small groups, you’ll experiment with ways to make exhibit content meaningful and memorable for visitors.


FORMAT: On-site group workshop

LENGTH: Two days (8:30 am - 5:00 pm; 9:00 am - 5:00 pm)

DATE: April 29-30, 2019

LOCATION: History Colorado, Denver, CO

MATERIALS: Workshop materials will be provided upon registration and in-person at the event.

COST: $230 AASLH members/$345 nonmembers

** Save $40 when you register by March 29, 2019 and use promo code EARLYBIRD19 at checkout! **



Participants of this workshop may be eligible for an AASLH Workshop Scholarship. Each year AASLH offers scholarships to four individuals in the history field to attend an AASLH onsite workshop. Recipients of the New Professional Workshop Scholarship and Diversity Workshop Fellowship receive registration fee reimbursement for one AASLH workshop and one year Individual Membership in AASLH. Registration for 2019 Workshop scholarships is now open. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2019.



Who Should Attend This Workshop

This workshop is intended for museum staff and volunteers who want to create more engaging and effective exhibits. It’s also an opportunity for managers and board members to gain insight into the processes of exhibit development and design. A supportive, team-based environment will build skills, confidence, and a network of colleagues.


Ann Craig (BA, History and Asian Studies, 2000, University of Oregon; MA, Arts Management, Museum Studies, 2006, University of Oregon) is the Director of Public Programs at The Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon. Ann has been with the museum since 2005, where she oversees educational programming and exhibitions for all audiences. She is a board member with the Oregon Museum Association, chair of the Museums of Springfield and Eugene (MUSE) and a member of the Lane County Cultural Coalition.She is co-author, with Alice Parman, Lyle Murphy, Liz White, and Lauren Willis, of Exhibit Makeovers: A Do-It-Yourself Workbook for Small Museums, Second Edition (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).

Participant Feedback

“I really enjoyed all aspects [of the workshop]. I enjoyed working with others and hearing their ideas. Alice was a great facilitator of thought and discussion.”

“The group size worked well to build a sort of camaraderie feeling and the info was fantastic and immediately put into use.”

“Great vocab, take home information, comfortable friendly, enjoyable, thought provoking.”

“The activities that supplemented each lecture help to see these concepts in practice.”

Events- Drivers of Attendance

2014 Fairy Tale Festival at Ford House in Michigan.  Captain Hook invading the grounds.
2014 Fairy Tale Festival at Ford House in Michigan. Captain Hook invading the grounds.  That's right, pirates!

Two years ago, Nina Simon posted on Museum 2.0 about events driving attendance and it made me wonder if there was a way to re-package things I was already doing to sound more "event-y" to drive attendance.  In the winter of 2013 at the Ohio History Center (in my last position) we re-packaged and added more programs to our normal weekend schedule and called them "Cabin Fever Weekends."  It gave something for the marketing department to talk about and we demonstrated an increase in attendance over one year before.  It turned out to be more work for the front line staff, and sometimes, they had unattended programs.  We used the same "event" based principle for the summer in Ohio Village and also saw increases in attendance.  The events were a lot of work, but we were serving more people in mission-based activities.

I just came off a big event at my new place of work where we served 2,000 people in one day and I started to wonder if events are the new drivers for attendance and how do we re-organize our resources around this concept.  Is it true?  Is it worth the time and energy?

As I love to look at data to help understand patterns and visitor behaviors, I would love to see other organizations facing the same question: do events drive a significant percentage of attendance?  are they the best use of staff time? are audiences engaging in meaningful learning experiences?

Want to chat about this topic more?  Join us on Twitter @AASLHEdInt #edintchat at 4pm EST on Tuesday, July 29th to talk about your own experiences, ask questions, and connect with other educators and interpreters.