Exhibit Workshops

POW Exhibit Workshops

As the company name POW! suggests, Paul Orselli does workshops! Paul has presented workshops on exhibit design and prototyping to enthusiastic attendees at museums, conferences, and universities around the world.

Click on the images below to find out more, or better yet, CONTACT PAUL today to discuss a custom workshop for your institution.

Muzeiko Fullbright Workshops

As part of being awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant, Paul traveled to Bulgaria for several weeks to present interactive workshops on topics related to museum exhibit design, development, and prototyping. Not only did Paul partner again with colleagues from the Muzeiko Children’s Science Museum in Sofia, but he also gave workshops to museum professionals from all around Bulgaria.  Click below to read a blog post about 10 things Paul learned as a Fulbright Specialist in Bulgaria

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Bulgarian Museum folks at The Muzeiko Fulbright WorkshopFulbright Muzeiko CrewPrototype toys at the Fulbright Muzeiko MuseumChanges on the floor at the Muzeiko Fulbright Workshop

 

ICOM-ITC Beijing Workshop

Paul was invited to China to be one of the two primary international instructors for workshops at the International Council of Museums – International Training Center (ICOM-ITC) headquartered at the Palace Museum in Beijing. Paul presented interactive sessions on museum exhibit design and development topics to workshop attendees from all across China, as well as such diverse countries as Kenya, Nepal, Korea, and Guatemala. Click below to read a blog post on Paul’s experiences in China:

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Paul Orselli and Lucimara at the exhibit workshop in Beijing   More images from the Beijing museum workshop   Collaboration at the museum exhibit workshop in Beijing China   the ICOM-ITC Beijing Workshop team

Tunisia Workshops

As part of grant programs through the U.S. State Department, Paul was invited twice to Tunisia to work with teachers, scout leaders, and museum professionals from Libya and Tunisia. During the immersive workshops, Paul explored with these adult leaders how museum education techniques could be used to foster a greater appreciation among the region’s young people for their own regional and national cultural heritage. Paul wrote a blog post on his first visit to Tunisia:

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Participants at the Tunisia museum Workshop   Paul Orselli at the Tunisia museum Workshop   Museum professionals from Tunisia museum Workshop Fun and interesting activities at the Tunisia museum Workshop

Huttinger Germany Workshop

POW! was invited to give workshops to the staff of Huttinger, one of the largest exhibit fabrication companies in Europe, located in Nuremberg, Germany. While there, Paul was able to tour Huttinger’s amazing fabrication facilities and conduct hands-on sessions at Huttinger’s headquarters.

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Museum exhibit at the Huttinger Germany Workshop   Amazing architecture in Nuremberg, Germany near the museum workshop   Activities at Huttinger Germany museum Workshop

Universities and Museums Workshops

POW! is fortunate to give interactive workshops to a wide variety of organizations around the world. In addition to being an instructor or guest lecturer at Museum Education and Exhibit Design programs at universities, Paul continues to give presentations at Museums and Conferences in North America and Europe.

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Paul with a staff member at the Fairbanks (Alaska) Children’s Museum oh and a reindeer too.   Paul Orselli leading a Master’s Classes in Exhibit Prototyping at Fashion Institute of Technology.   Paul Orselli giving a lecturer at the graduate Museum Design programs at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia   Paul Orselli at the first “Museum Camp” held by Nina Simon at the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz, CA

ExhibiTricks blog

  • Exhibit Design Inspiration: Tim Hunkin's Secret Life of Components



    The brilliant artist and gizmologist Tim Hunkin has done it again! 

    Tim has created A series of YouTube guides for designers and makers entitled the "Secret Life of Components."  The subjects of the eight episodes are Chain, Switches, LEDs, Springs, Connectors, Hinges, and Glue. The eight videos will be released on a weekly schedule starting on March 4, 2021.

    You can find out more about the genesis of the Secret Life of Components series as well as Tim's other amazing work by clicking over to his website.

    You can also check out the first episode (about Chain) by viewing the embedded video below or by heading directly to Tim Hunkin's YouTube page.

    Enjoy!




    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"
  • 7 Project Red Flags to Avoid




    What drives some museum projects to succeed, while others either spin their wheels for years or just crash and burn?

    I've been thinking about this a lot lately since almost all of my current work involves "start from scratch" projects set up to create entirely new museums or installations rather than adapting or designing experiences for existing institutions.

    One of these start-up projects, in particular, is operating under the long shadow of a recent design process that failed, and that left a lot of bad feelings (and canceled checks!) behind.  So now, in addition to working hard to create a successful new project, our design team is constantly beating back the ghosts of past "car wrecks" in the minds of funders and stakeholders. 

    One thing that's been helpful is to differentiate the parts of our current creative process that are not related to the "pain points" the client team and stakeholders have experienced previously.  It really boils down to a few essential elements.

    So here's a list of my seven "red flags" --- speed bumps that I really watch out for before I decide to join a project, or try to prevent from taking root during the twists and turns on the road to successful projects:


    This Year's Model?
    Are your design ideas based on community input with a mind toward project sustainability (economically, operationally, ecologically) or are you just chasing souped-up fads?  There was a time when every new museum seemingly had to open with an IMAX theater and/or a virtual reality gimmick whether those things were sound business decisions or not.


    Leggo That Ego?
    Is one person's (or one group's) ego constantly driving the creative process?  There should be no shortage of strong opinions that get batted around during a project, but at the end of the day, are the final decisions that are being made truly project-oriented or merely personality-driven?


    Who's On Your "Pit Crew"?
    Are the people in your project group "team players" in every dimension?  Do they respect and support each other? Do they truly want to engage the communities who will visit the museum?  Do they look for ways to creatively partner with other museums and organizations?  Or is everything a "we know best" situation?


    What Does "World's Best" Mean?
    I've written posts about this topic before.  It is great to set the bar high, but at least know what you're talking about. What specifically would make your new museum "world class"?  If you can't meaningfully answer that question, you don't seem aspirational, you seem delusional.


    Do You Really Need A Ferrari?
    Do the design solutions you're developing really fit the project and the place where it's located?  I sincerely believe that every community should have great cultural institutions, but you don't build a Ferrari when a Ford will do the trick.  Find the right tools for the right tasks.


    What's Under The Hood? 
    No prospective creative partner is perfect, but you owe it to your project to "check under the hood" a bit.  Ask your design team to describe a previous project that ran into a snag or two, and what steps they took to address and resolve the challenges.  If they can't come up with a credible answer or, worse yet, say that nothing like that has ever come up --- RUN! 

    It's easy for everyone to be happy and excited at the beginning of a project when the schedule and budget seem great, but what happens when you all hit that first big pothole together?


    Built To Last?
    Let's finish where we started --- talking about sustainability.  Is your project built to last?  Are you creating true "internal capacity" (one of my favorite topics!) that will help your organization and your organization's employees and volunteers constantly grow and improve?  Or are you happy to throw your lot in with a bunch of "one-stop shopping" hucksters who will promise to do all the hard work for you as long as you keep writing checks?  I can show you many new(er) museums that,  just a few years after they opened, are sorry they made that choice.


    What do you think?  Did we miss any important "red flags"?  Let us know in the "Comments" section 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, you can help keep it free to read and free from ads by supporting ExhibiTricks through our PayPal "Tip Jar"
  • The Exhibit Aphorisms Decks (and a FREE GIVEAWAY!)



    A number of years ago, science center consultant extraordinaire Harry White put together a fun way to collect some exhibit wisdom together in a handy, portable package -- the Exhibit Aphorisms decks!

    The idea of an aphorism is to put some core truth in a memorably flippant way so that people who are “in the know” recognize it and those who don’t, think about it some more.  

    So, the Exhibit Aphorisms decks are just like a standard deck of cards, except the face of each card contains a thought-provoking, exhibit-related saying or quote. 


    Here are a few examples:

    The first is from Ken Gleason:

    The Three Ways an Exhibit Must Work.

    1. Attraction
    If they don't use it, it can't achieve anything.

    2. Function.
    It must work, keep working and be safe.

    3. Education.
    What we're for, and why we're doing it. 1 & 2 lead here.



    From Ian Simmons: 

    "The Survival of the Dullest"
    Good exhibits are popular, get used, and therefore break down.
    Dull exhibits don't get used, and so don't break down.
    Therefore all interactive exhibitions, without maintenance, eventually tend towards the dull.



    Others are shorter and reflect bitter experience:

    Sufficient ruggedization of loose parts turns them into weapons.

    For every hole or gap, there is a corresponding human limb or appendage to get wedged in it.

    Making easy exhibits is difficult.
    Making easy exhibits difficult is easy.



    Then some come in pairs:

    Any component which is ideal, cheap, and universally available will be discontinued by the time the exhibit that uses it is fully developed.

    Any component that doesn't exist, so you have to devise it at great cost, will be in the next McMaster-Carr catalog.




    Not all are directly about exhibits:

    “Nobody flunked a Science Centre.”
    Frank Oppenheimer


    “The probability of somebody doing the absolutely inconceivable is never exactly zero.”
    H. Richard Crane


    “Visitors come to a Science Centre because it’s cheaper than the movies and less exhausting than the swimming pool.”
    Gillian Thomas



    Because the Exhibit Aphorism decks have never formally been for sale, getting hold of a deck has mainly involved running into Harry at a museum conference and asking for one.  (Although word on the street is that a Kickstarter campaign may be starting to introduce an updated Version 1 and a brand new Version 2 of the decks -- so stay tuned!)


    But here's your COVID-safe, travel-free chance to win one of two FREE Exhibit Aphorisms decks, because we are doing an 

    ExhibiTricks GIVEAWAY!


    For your chance to win, simply send an email to info (at) orselli (dot) net with the subject line, "I want an Exhibit Aphorisms deck!" before February 28, 2021.  That's it.  We will randomly select two winners and contact them directly after the 28th.

    Good luck, and remember:

    "A consultant is a person who borrows your watch and then charges to tell you the time."


    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"
  • How Can Museums Find Their "Next" Practices?




    I've just started the new season of Museum FAQ videos over on the POW! YouTube channel -- a series of meaty conversations with a wide range of museum professionals from all around the world.

    The latest episode features a lively conversation with Kathy McLean about "next" practices for museums instead of "best" practices.  You can get a sense of how the conversation was framed by looking at the graphic at the top of this post.  Kathy and I touched on ways that museum workers and the communities they engage with can help redefine the values, roles, processes, and relationships of museums. 

    One of my favorite things that Kathy said during our chat was, "if you are really trying to do something new and different, why do you need to see an existing "best" practice from another museum?'  We discussed (and linked to) some great projects as part of our video, like the storefront theater events in Miami and The Mile Long Opera in NYC.

    Well worth a view, if I do say so myself. 

    And when you click over to the POW! YouTube channel, hit that big red SUBSCRIBE button so you don't miss any of the new Museum FAQ videos coming up!



    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"
  • Tape-tastic!



    Even though I've been stuck at home working on projects because of the pandemic, one thing I've come to appreciate even more as an exhibit developer and prototyper is TAPE!

    Tape is one of those handy things that you often use but rarely think about.

    So in true ExhibiTricks spirit, here's a listing of a variety of specialty tapes for your creative design toolbox.  Just click on the title link above each tape description to go to a related web page to purchase that tape or for more information.



    "SOLAS" stands for "Safety Of Life At Sea" and it is a super-durable reflective tape that was designed originally to be used by the Coast Guard. It's strong. It's shiny. What more could you want? It may also be useful outside your exhibit pursuits on bikes, backpacks, or cars.


    If you think duct tape is useful, try Gaffer's tape. You can think of Gaffer's Tape as duct tape without the sticky residue. It's the standard tape in the film and theater worlds. Best of all, the adhesive is designed to not rip off paint. You can leave Gaffer's tape stuck to a wall for days, and then remove it without tearing up the wall surface or leaving sticky gunk behind.


    The "blue masking tape" is great because it doesn't mar or mess up walls.  Great for painting/masking of course, but also super when putting together large paper or cardboard prototypes that need to interface with walls, floors, or windows.


    X-treme tape is a non-adhesive, self-bonding wrap. It's not really "tape" since it's not sticky. But it really grips and wraps around wet stuff or slimy stuff --- think water exhibits, hoses, bubble exhibits, etc. Once it's in place -- it is NOT coming off! You just pull on the tape and it fuses to itself under tension. As a bonus, it comes in a range of colors as well. 



    And here are two variations on good old reliable duct tape:

    Gorilla Tape is like regular duct tape on steroids. Sure, it's much stickier, but it also adheres to uneven/rough surfaces.


    From the creative minds of 3M comes "clear "duct tape! It is less noticeable than standard duct tape, but more importantly, 3M claims it lasts 6 times longer than the standard variety, having been engineered for extreme temperatures and UV exposure.



    A "self-clinging" wrapping material that does not require tight compression.


    Adhesive "dots" that require no drying time, are clean and easy to use, and work on a variety of materials. Glue Dots bond instantly to any surface.


    This is double-sided craft tape with a red liner that is super strong. (The bond actually increases after the first 24 hours it is applied.)  This is the same kind of ultra-thin, very sticky tape as "3M 4910 VHB Tape" but TT tape comes in shorter-length rolls so it is less expensive.


    Clear self-mating reclosable fastener with clear acrylic adhesive on the back. This is the "mushroom" topped style, rather than hook and loop, so it fastens to itself and doesn't collect fuzz like the "hook" half of velcro.


    Great for outlining areas on floors or walls -- like helping people maintain physical distancing during COVID times.  These tapes come from Identi-Tape and are highly adhesive and resistant to water, oil, fungus, and chemicals, have a semi-gloss finish, and can be written on with permanent markers.


    Also from Identi-Tape, these 6-mil vinyl adhesive tapes are available in 14 colors plus clear in 36-yard long rolls. These tapes are ideal for constructing lines and tables on dry erase boards, identification of small tools, decorative striping, etc.


    The cool thing about Hugo's Amazing Tape is that it only sticks to itself.  This makes it great for things that need to be wrapped and re-wrapped, or opened and closed, on a regular basis.  Hugo's tape can also be used as a temporary clamp or stabilizer for irregularly-shaped materials as well.


    And that wraps up this post about tape!  Do you have any favorite tapes that we've missed here? Leave us the info in the Comments Section 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, you can help keep it free to read and free from ads by supporting ExhibiTricks through our PayPal "Tip Jar"