Recent News

News about POW!

Museum Archipelago Podcast

Paul was interviewed for the "Museum Archipelago" podcast on the subject of "The Future of Hands-On Museum Exhibits". You can listen to the full podcast here

 

Paul Orselli publishes article in ICOM's "Voices"

Paul published an article related to his Fulbright Specialist work entitled, "5 Things I Learnt as a Fulbright Specialist in Bulgaria – Building Internal Capacity through Prototyping" in the ICOM online journal called "Voices". ICOM is the International Council of Museums. You can find Paul's article here.

 

Paul Orselli receives prestigious Fulbright Specialist award!

Paul is delighted to announce that his Fulbright Specialist award will bring him back to Bulgaria to work with the fine folks at Muzeiko in September 2019.

 

A Busy Conference Season!

POW! was a proud sponsor of the 2019 InterActivity Conference in Denver, as well as being a speaker at the New York City Museum Educator's Roundtable (NYCMER) Conference.

Coming up, POW! is also a proud sponsor of Museums & Race events at the American Alliance of Museums Conference in New Orleans and a presenter at the The European Network of Science Centres and Museums (ECSITE) Conference in Copenhagen.

 

Exhibit Workshops in China

At the beginning of November 2017, Paul Orselli will be presenting a series of exhibition design and development workshops for ICOM China at The Palace Museum in Beijing.

 

"In Harms Way" Exhibition

POW! created interactive exhibit components for the "In Harm's Way" exhibition opening in October 2017 at The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook, NY.

 

ASTC Conference

Paul will be speaking at the Annual Conference of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) in San Jose, California from October 21-24, 2017.
Follow this link for more information about the Conference Program.

 

The Children’s Museum in West Hartford

A new exhibit at the Children’s Museum in West Hartford, which caters to preschool and elementary school-aged children, has created an interactive exhibit ‘Dinosaurs in Your Backyard: A Portal to Past Worlds,’ premiered on Feb. 18, 2017. The dinosaur exhibit that opened to the public isn’t filled with reconstructed dinosaur skeletons to be seen and not touched.“The scenes are reflective, to the best of our knowledge, of what Connecticut, even West Hartford, might have been like millions of years ago,” said Paul Orselli, who designed the exhibit for The Children’s Museum.

 

Busy 2016 Conference Season!

Paul Orselli, principal of POW! is delighted to be an invited speaker at the 2016 conferences of the Association of Children's Museums and the Association of Science-Technology Centers.  Paul will also be a discussant for the symposium celebrating  the 25th anniversary of the MFA program in Museum Exhibition Planning + Design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

 

DoSeum opens in San Antonio

One of the largest new Children’s Museum projects in the United States, DoSeum, has opened to great acclaim in San Antonio, Texas. POW! was happy to provide consulting, training, and staff development expertise to the project.
>> VIEW MORE

 

Muzeiko museum project opens in Sofia Bulgaria!

After many enjoyable years of being part of the primary project team for Muzeiko, POW! is delighted to announce that Bulgaria’s first Children’s Museum opened to the public on October 1st, 2015.  Here is a Google Maps walkthrough of the entire Muzeiko building and exhibits:
>> VIEW MORE

 

More Museum News and Views

Check out more of what’s going on in the museum biz, as well as exhibit tips and tricks of the trade on the ExhibiTricks blog:
>>VIEW MORE

ExhibiTricks blog

  • Exhibit Design Inspiration -- Decisions, Decisions!



    Sometimes as part of a museum exhibit experience, we'd like the users to make a choice of some sort -- "Which historical figure do you want to find out about?"  "Choose one of these six minerals to test ..." "Did your animal survive the winter?" and so on.

    While these kinds of decision points as part of an interactive experience can be handled by a digital/computer device or (gasp!) some sort of Artificial Intelligence application, I'm a big fan of a decidedly more "old school" analog approach -- incorporating the devices used in board games (dice, spinners, flippers, carnival wheels, etc.) to provide different content or experiential choices for museum visitors.

    Why use things like dice or spinners in an exhibition instead of a randomized digital equivalent?

    Here are a few reasons:

    SOCIABILITY 
    Watching a spinning carnival wheel or having several people throw dice to make a choice in an exhibition is inherently a more social experience than one person hunching over a touch screen.

    SUSTAINABILITY
    Spinners or dice don't need to be plugged in.

    ACCESSIBILITY
    Physical selection devices can be used by people with a wide range of abilities.  For example, all these "old school" game devices can be set up so that users with low or no vision can still participate.

    SCALABILITY
    Game elements can also easily scale up or down. Large-scale game elements add to the "sociability" factor mentioned above.

    Check out this example below from a nature game (about geese!) I saw during my last trip to Bulgaria.



    TESTABILITY
    Simple selection devices can be easily mocked up when testing exhibit prototypes, or just by doing a quick Google or Amazon search for "game piece suppliers," you can find lots of good places to buy all sorts of pieces to use for testing or in finished exhibit components.

    In that regard, while researching this post, I came across a great website boardgamegeek.com. In addition to having all sorts of information about, and reviews of, board games, the site also has this handy webpage that provides an alphabetical listing of online outlets that sell game pieces and related materials. 

    FAMILIARITY
    Most, if not all, of your museum visitors will automatically know how to use a carnival wheel or set of dice.

    MAINTAINABILITY
    Last but not least, these low-tech items are very durable and easily maintained or replaced.  Even better, all of these items can be self-contained -- that is, without loose parts.  Even dice can be put into spinning cages or the awesome Pop-O-Matic, so they don't go astray.



    So, why not take a chance (roll the dice!) and incorporate some "old school" physical game elements into your next exhibit design or prototyping session?






    Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

    Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

    If you enjoy the blog, you can help keep it free to read and free from ads by supporting ExhibiTricks through our PayPal "Tip Jar"
  • Successful Imperfection




    The other day one of my sons wanted to cook up a little surprise for our family.  He worked hard to make some onion bhaji based on a recipe that one of his college friends taught him.  (You can try making some of your own bhajis by following this recipe.)

    Everyone enjoyed the special appetizers and found them quite tasty, but I noticed my son was a little upset, and I asked him what the problem was.  He was disappointed that the bhaji hadn't turned out exactly how he had hoped and had actually thrown some of them away because he didn't think they were "good enough" to serve.

    We are often our own worst critics, and many times the fear of "less than perfect" paralyzes our work. 

    Sometimes parts of an exhibition or a new program won't be 100% complete or be *perfect* on opening day -- and while that might gnaw at us as creators, our visitors are usually focused on enjoying the new exhibits or programs we've created.

    Let's continue to learn from our failures, but let's also take time to savor our "imperfect" successes.



    Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

    Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

    If you enjoy the blog, you can help keep it free to read and free from ads by supporting ExhibiTricks through our PayPal "Tip Jar"
  • Do You Need Walls to be a Museum?



    Do you need walls to be a Museum?

    It's a question worth asking again, as the Rubin Museum of Art recently announced that it would be closing its New York City museum building later this year -- essentially becoming a "museum without walls."

    There are many instances of emerging museums starting out as "museums without walls," with the ultimate aim in those cases to end up inside a permanent museum home rather than reversing the sequence as the Rubin is doing.

    But really, what are the essential qualities of a "museum"?  I would say that strong museum experiences are defined by three S words: Stuff, Stories, and Social. (Note that "Structure" isn't one of those S words!)

    First, you need some kind of "STUFF," whether artifacts, collection objects, or exhibit elements.  Even completely digital museums, like the Girl Museum, still emphasize the notion of thematic exhibitions, albeit through purely online installations.

    Secondly, you should have strong STORIES to share.  The FREE THE MUSEUM project works to share stories and place their installations in and around communities in places like parks, streets, or community gathering places rather than museum buildings.

    And lastly, museums must be SOCIAL places, providing opportunities for people to gather and interact with each other.  The "new" Rubin Museum aims to provide such social opportunities for people to interact with new installations related to Himalayan Art by working with creative partners around the world.

    So I would say you do NOT need walls to create strong and memorable museum experiences. 

    However, it will be difficult for "wall-free museums" to shift the natural perception of so many members of the public who immediately think of permanent, physical buildings when the word "museum" comes up and consider museum buildings the mark of institutional legitimacy.






    Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

    Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

    If you enjoy the blog, you can help keep it free to read and free from ads by supporting ExhibiTricks through our PayPal "Tip Jar"
  • Why "Best Museum" Lists are the Worst!




    I hope your museum is better than chasing after some hokey "best of" list.

    USA Today regularly publishes multiple categories of these "Best Museum" lists.

    The whole process starts with an incredibly bad premise -- how can you compare two completely different museums, say the Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History, and claim one of them is the "best"?

    The people who most often seem interested in these "best museum" lists are executive directors or board members begging you to vote (multiple times!) for their institution or museum marketers looking to churn out another breathless press release.

    Do we really need our work recognized by giving ourselves flimsy PR bragging rights because of some bogus "best of" list?

    You don't actually get to claim the title of "the best" for your museum with some cheesy marketing stunt -- instead, you need to try every day to create amazing experiences so that your visitors keep coming back to your museum, again and again, and telling their friends and family to do the same.








    Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

    Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

    If you enjoy the blog, you can help keep it free to read and free from ads by supporting ExhibiTricks through our PayPal "Tip Jar"
  • Cool Tool: KEEPa Magnetic Clip



    My brother-in-law recently told me about KEEPa -- a cool multi-function magnetic clip/strap device.

    A durable polyurethane strap has two super-strong magnets encased at each end, surrounded by small ridges to reduce sliding or skidding.



    KEEPa is the perfect kind of multi-purpose tool -- the more you use it, the more new ways you come up with ways to put it to use.

    Find out more about KEEPa on their website or see people putting it to use on the KEEPa Instagram page.





    Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

    Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

    If you enjoy the blog, you can help keep it free to read and free from ads by supporting ExhibiTricks through our PayPal "Tip Jar"