Recent News

News about POW!

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

  • Re:Frame -- The Smithsonian's Smart New Video Series About Art (and More!)



    Re:Frame is a smart new video series from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (or SAAM for short)  that helps viewers find the interconnections between art and other disciplines.

    From their YouTube channel description:

    Re:Frame is a video series that brings together art historians and researchers from across the Smithsonian–think zoologists, geologists, musicologists, and astronomers–to explore art’s many meanings. Join host Melissa as she crisscrosses the Smithsonian making connections, exploring diverse perspectives, and proving that American art is for everyone.

    One of my favorite episodes of Re:Frame is the one that explores the physical properties of graphite (with a Smithsonian geologist!) in relation to the work "Nocturnal (Horizon Line)" by Teresita Fernandez and how she employed those same physical properties in her artwork.

    (Watch the entire Graphite! video on YouTube or embedded below.)





    Re:Frame does what every great method of museum interpretation does, namely, helps the visitor better appreciate and understand a museum object or experience.

    I'd highly recommend clicking over to the Re:Frame YouTube channel to experience all the short, insightful, and well-produced videos in the series.





    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, please help support ExhibiTricks through our PayPal "Tip Jar"
  • Museum/Exhibit/Design Inspiration: Music Animation Machine



    Composer, musician, and software engineer Stephen Malinowski invented a cool way of visualizing music called the "Music Animation Machine."

    Basically, Malinowski creates visualizations of music using a system of colored shapes, taking information from a MIDI file.  You can see a still frame of one of his Music Animation Machine videos above, representing a section of Bach's Double Violin Concerto in D Minor.

    What I like most about the Music Animation Machine presentations is that they help viewers/listeners appreciate what may be very familiar pieces of classical music in very new and different ways.

    For me, a non-musician, listening and viewing really helps me appreciate the structure of a composition and the interplay of different instruments even more forcefully than simply listening alone.

    Malinowski's work certainly makes me think of the possibilities for museum exhibitions, but also helps me consider how to engage multiple senses of visitors in my work.

    Click over to YouTube to experience a whole series of Music Animation Machine videos. (I've also embedded a nice example below.)





    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, please help support ExhibiTricks through our PayPal "Tip Jar"
  • Summer 2019 "Beach Books" for Museum/Exhibit/Design People



    If you like to read on the beach (or like me, in a cozy air-conditioned house!) here are a few books that museum/exhibit/design folks can enjoy during the slower pace of summer.

    The link on every book title leads to a previous ExhibiTricks post or interview (or in the case of "Mission Matters" and "Partnership Power" to awesome YouTube conversations with the authors!)


    Happy Reading!



    In Gail Anderson's new book, twenty museum leaders each share their institution’s story of transformative change tied to reframing their mission. Anderson’s central tool for the book, the Mission Alignment Framework, helps reference the thinking about missions and the subsequent changes within museums as they redirect their work.

    [Purchase the book here.]




    In her highly-readable book, Marsha Semmel includes perspectives from a broad array of institutions, including libraries and other nonprofits; current museum case studies from a broad and diverse spectrum of museum types (history, children’s, art, science, and ethnic); and proven tools, tips, and resources.  Partnership Power: Essential Museum Strategies for Today’s Networked World serves as an invaluable primer for museums – and museum professionals -- wanting to create and sustain effective partnerships and collaborations.

    [Purchase the book here.]



    "Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon 

    Some books just leap out at you and make you read them. "Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon has been one of those kinds of books for me --- packed with ideas, quotes, and anecdotes that really resonate with me and my creative practice.

    [Purchase the book here.]




    Inside this pithy volume, Weinschenk gives 100 examples of the psychology of design and why some design choices work better than others.

    Dividing her 100 examples into thematic sections such as "How People See" and "How People Remember" the author not only provides illustrated examples of design approaches but provides links to research, websites, and online talks that let you explore specific design topics in more depth.

    [Purchase the book here.]  




    "Of course, there's a more personal reason I started the Museum 2.0 blog. I'm a free choice learner. I didn't want to go to graduate school, but I did want to pursue my own education in museums and learn enough to have something to say to some of the really smart people I was meeting at conferences. The blog really started as a personal learning device. It continues to be that for me, but now there are more co-learners involved."

    [Purchase the books here and here. You can also read the books online here and here.]




    In Margaret Kadoyama’s vision, cultural organizations are vital members of their communities and are actively involved in community revitalization.  Margaret works collaboratively with museums and cultural organizations to create strategic community involvement and audience development plans, assess programs, and plan for sustainability.

    [Purchase the book here.]




    "The first edition of Exhibit Labels was a follow-up on my book published by the Association for State and Local History (AASLH) called “Making Exhibit Labels: A Step-by-Step Approach.” I wrote that in 1983 before I’d ever done much work on exhibition planning and design, although I had a background in museum education.

    I had a master’s degree in science teaching in non-school settings, and I’d worked as the curator of education at the Shedd Aquarium for eight years. I was in charge of programs, not exhibits. I kept pushing for more interpretive stories in the labels of the Shedd’s galleries, but that wasn’t my job."

    [Purchase the book here.]




    "Fostering Active Prolonged Engagement" is a book about an NSF-funded project at the Exploratorium that digs deeply into how exhibit components can foster "APE behavior." (APE is the acronym for Active Prolonged Engagement.)  Namely, how can exhibits be developed (or in many cases, re-designed) to allow visitors to take active roles in creating their own experiences in ways that compel them to spend longer periods of time at the exhibits?

    [Purchase the book here.]



    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, please help support ExhibiTricks through our PayPal "Tip Jar"
  • 2 Fun Ways to Remember the Apollo 11 Moon Landing (and 2 Lessons for Interpreting Historical Events)



    In all the celebrations and remembrances of the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, two well-done (and fun!) pieces of digital interpretation stood out for me.

    The first (pictured at the top of this post) is a projection on the Washington Monument of the full-scale Saturn V rocket that brought the Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon.

    The second is a brief "Google Doodle" animated film (click here to view it) with Michael Collins, the astronaut who flew the Command Module during the Apollo 11 mission.

    The Washington Monument projection is successful because it provides a big, cool "wow" followed by an "aha" -- "so that's how big the rocket was!"  Also, this particular piece of digital interpretation could not really have achieved the same effect anyplace else in any other way.

    Astronaut Collins remembrances in the Google Doodle film, on the other hand, bring the historic event down to the human scale in simple, memorable ways -- from recalling the pleasure of drinking hot coffee in space, to recounting the very human feeling of "we" that emerged during the world tour that the Apollo 11 astronauts embarked on after their successful mission.




    So let's remember both the "giant leaps" (wow!) and "small steps" (aha!) when we help interpret historical events for the public.





    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 is an instigator, in the best sense of that word. He likes to mix up interesting people, ideas, and materials to make both individual museum exhibits and entire museums with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.)

    If you would like to support the content on ExhibiTricks, please consider making a small donation through our PayPal "Tip Jar"
  • Encore Post From The Road: "5 Things That Great Dining And Great Museum Experiences Have In Common."




    I'm on the road vacationing with my family this week.  We will no doubt be enjoying many wonderful new museum and food-related experiences during our travels, so I thought I'd share this "encore" of one of my most popular posts that ties together the similarities between great dining AND great museum experiences.

    ENJOY! 

    Let me tell you about Bigelow's.  It's a little "hole in the wall" sort of place near my home on Long Island known for its fried clams. Bigelow's has been in business in the same spot since 1939.  I went there for lunch today with my youngest son Philip, and in-between our sighs of pleasure and chatting it up with our fellow diners, I was reminded of how much a great dining experience is like a great museum experience.

    1) Everyone Knows Where It Is

    I know you can use Google Maps or Yelp, but if you ask somebody at a hotel front desk or a taxi driver where a local restaurant or museum is, they should be able to tell you right away. If the place is really good, they should also be able to enthuse about a memorable experience that they or a friend had there recently.  I remember visiting a city whose (unnamed) museum was practically across the street from the well-known professional football stadium, and not one taxi driver knew where that museum was located or had even heard of it.  That's sad.

    2) You Feel Welcomed Right Away

    Even if it's the first time you've been there, a great museum or dining spot makes you instantly feel welcomed and at ease.  It's a combination of the physical entry sequence (starting in the parking lot) and the staff people at the entrance that do the trick. You feel like you are in the right place and are starting out your visit in a positive way.  Think about the qualities of the places that always make you feel welcomed (and the ones that don't!)

    In the case of Bigelow's, you see the stools around the horseshoe-shaped counter (so you know where to sit right away) and the straightforward menu board lets you see your options (so you can start thinking about what you'd like to eat or drink as soon as you sit down.)  

    Contrast that with some museums where you have no idea where to pay your admission, or how to figure out which things you want to do or pay for.

    Welcome to Bigelow's!

    3) Friendly Staff Anticipate Your Needs

    You never wait for your water glass to be refilled, or twiddle your thumbs waiting for the check at a great restaurant. That's because the people who work there are alert and genuinely attentive to their customers' needs.  Great museums have actual floor staff interacting with visitors, not just chatting in a corner by themselves.  Wonderful dining and museum experiences share an important social component.  A positive interaction with a staff person often adds to the overall experience.


    4) You Tell Friends About The Place And Want To Take Them There

    A fantastic experience at a great place is one you want to share with other people. There's a reason "word of mouth" advertising is so sought after --- you can't fake it or spend your way there.  If you had a remarkable museum experience you tell other people about it.  And you want to go back there to share that positive experience with people you care about.  I've written blog posts about "museums worth a special trip" those places you would travel out of your way to go see based on a friend's recommendation.  I would definitely put places like The City Museum in St. Louis, or Chanticleer Garden outside Philadelphia in that rarefied category. 

    Bigelow's is worth a special trip!


    5) Memory Makers!

    The best museums (and restaurants!) are memory makers.  They are the places that are part of every story that starts with "Remember the time we ..."  They are the places that you want to post on Facebook or Instagram because you felt the experience was worth capturing and sharing.  The picture at the top of this post shows my friends Bistra and Nadia from Muzeiko in Bulgaria after a lunch we shared at Bigelow's.  They asked for me to bring them somewhere that was real "Long Island."  And even though they both grew up thousands of miles away, they loved it!  And what business can ask for more than that?

    As you are starting out your New Year and thinking about ways to improve the museum(s) you work for, maybe a trip to your favorite local restaurant can give you just the right kind of "food for thought" to inspire making some memorable changes for your visitors!

    Facebook-ready "food for thought" from Bigelow's!


    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 is an instigator, in the best sense of that word. He likes to mix up interesting people, ideas, and materials to make both individual museum exhibits and entire museums with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.)

    If you would like to support the content on ExhibiTricks, please consider making a small donation through our PayPal "Tip Jar"