Free Exhibit Resources

Exhibit Resources from POW!

Paul Orselli Talks Museum Exhibit FAQs

We started the library of Museum FAQ videos and have received some great reviews, click below to see our informative videos of "Frequently Asked Questions" and interviews.
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The Great Big Exhibit Resource List

A constantly updated compendium of resources for museum design and exhibit fabrication (including websites and contact information.)
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Donor Recognition Examples

This is a PDF of examples of Donor Walls and other recognition devices in museums that were featured in an ExhibiTricks blog post. It's a BIG file so be patient as it loads.
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POW! in The New York Times

A nice review of a children's interactive art exhibition I created for the Nassau County Museum of Art.
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Downloadable Exhibit Articles by Paul Orselli

"Creating the ‘Wow-Aha!’ Exhibit"

Paul Orselli was interviewed in the Association of Children's Museums (ACM) journal, Hand to Hand, about developing museum exhibitions and what a post-COVID future might hold for interactive experiences.
>> download the PDF now

"Can Museums Really Change?"

In this article from the Informal Learning Review, Paul Orselli questions whether museums can really make the changes needed to move into the post-COVID world.
>> download the PDF now

"Producing Great Exhibits on a (Not So Great) Budget"

My article from the January/February 2014 issue of ASTC's Dimensions magazine. Some simple, inexpensive ways to add to your exhibits program.
>> download the PDF now

"Green Design Nuts and Bolts"

An article jam-packed with resources and techniques to help you expand your green exhibit design toolkit.
>> download the PDF now

"Million Dollar Pencils and Duct Tape: Some Thoughts on Prototyping"

Concrete examples and tips about how to move through each phase of the exhibit prototyping process.
>> download the PDF now

"Good Things Come In Small Packages" (Small Museums Article)

Lessons learned from a quarter century of working with a variety of different types and sizes of museums.
>> download the PDF now

"Do You Really Need a 3D Printer, and Other Essential Questions You Need to Ask about a Museum’s Makerspace"

5 questions to consider when creating (or updating!) a Makerspace or design-based learning environment at your museum.
>> download the PDF now

ExhibiTricks blog

  • 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"
  • WOW! then AHA!



    The New Year often brings big, celebratory fireworks shows.

    I love fireworks -- you can hear the crowds ooh and ahh as each new shell explodes and sends a splash of colors and light across the sky.  As people leave the show, many of them will exclaim "Wow! that was great!"

    Fireworks are usually a "one and done" type experience. A big WOW while they are happening, but not much afterthought given to the experience.  And that's fine.


    Your felt future, 2011 by Olafur Eliasson


    The work of one of my favorite contemporary artists, Olafur Eliasson, has been described as "first there is a WOW! followed by an AHA!"

    There is a visual (and often visceral) thrill in encountering Eliasson's artwork (WOW!) but then a need to step back and think about (or often, figure out) what's going on (AHA!)

    One of my New Year exhibit "resolutions" is to find (or create) a rhythm of exhibits and experiences in my museum projects so that there are plenty of WOWs, but also many AHAs.



    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"
  • 3 Networking DON'Ts



    I was delighted to speak at the recent NYCMER (New York Museum Educator's Roundtable) Career Symposium on the subject of "Building a Network" alongside two excellent co-presenters, Kinneret Kohn and Leah Golubchick.

    While we covered a number of great networking tips and tricks, my part of the session focused on 3 Networking DON'Ts


    1) DON'T Hide Your Work

    Make sure to share your work widely so that people can get a sense of the way you think and whether you might make a great creative partner for their next project.  No matter what sort of work you do, there are websites and apps that can help you promote your work and grow your professional network.

    Is your work visual? Maybe Instagram is right for you.  Do you like to write? Start a blogYouTube for videos, Twitter for quick takes -- at the very least, you should spruce up your LinkedIn listing!

    If you need some additional inspiration to put your work out into the world --  check out Austin Kleon's excellent book called "Show Your Work!







    2) DON'T Forget Your Business Cards!

    I tell every mentee and emerging museum professional I work with to not forget their business cards!  In our digital world, business cards might seem decidedly "old school" and yet there is something memorable in the tiny transaction -- especially if the recipient says "Great card!"

    I use (and really like!)  MOO's "Printfinity" business cards -- the fronts stay the same, but you can add different images or designs onto the back of each card. It's like keeping a portfolio of your work in your pocket -- and is also a fantastic way to create a memorable interaction when you give someone your business card.  (Here's a discount link to MOO that will save you 25% on your first order!)




    If you are still determinedly digital, then at the very least maximize your email signature!  In addition to contact details, you can include links to any of your online assets -- your blog, YouTube, what have you.

    I use WiseStamp to help liven up my email signature (as shown below.)






    3) DON'T Let Them (or Yourself!) Off The Hook

    When you contact someone to ask about a job or to introduce yourself, don't just leave it at that.

    Provide some additional value in the form of an article you've written, some information about a particularly interesting or innovative aspect of a recent project, or even a link to a Web article about the museum world that you found interesting.

    Similarly, even if your primary purpose is inquiring about a potential job -- don't let them off the hook!  If you only ask about a job, and there's no job available, then that's the end of the conversation.  However, if you ask for some additional advice or ideas about your next steps, you might get some useful information that you otherwise might not have received.

    For example, you might say or write, "Even if you don't have any current job openings, do you have any suggestions for colleagues I might speak with or recent books or articles I could read to expand my knowledge of the museum field?"  Most museum folks are generous and willing to provide a little advice -- and it sure takes the sting out of a rejection notice!  





    I hope these three sets of tips inspire you to expand your own professional network.  

    In that vein, I'm always happy to network with ExhibiTricks readers! You can connect with me via the Social Media links above, or feel free to contact me directly to introduce yourself.  Who knows?  We might be able to cook up a project to work on together!



    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!

    Please note: I may earn from some links above, but at no added cost to you.
  • Finding Diamonds



    As 2020 draws to a close, I keep thinking about the quote attributed to Thomas Carlyle:

    "No pressure, no diamonds."


    This past year was undoubtedly filled with stresses and pressures, but I will still take some "diamonds" (perhaps some still in the rough) with me into 2021.

    Here are some ideas and projects (with links) drawn from this past year's blog posts that have stuck with me:

    Motoi Yamamoto's "Saltworks"  It's always fascinating to me how humble materials (like salt)  can often yield works of great beauty and elegance.


    Finding Inspiration Outside (While Trapped Inside)  I found much solace, and much to appreciate, in the outdoors this year.


    Reading Recommendations  Looking for and finding new ideas and inspiration in a wide range of books ...


    Pandemic Diversions  There were lots of great things to find streaming online and on TV, too.


    "Feets-On" Museums?  It was written as a tongue-in-cheek response to the backward notion of "touchless museums" but there's still something there, not least of which the accessibility piece ...


    And last, but not least, my "Pandemic Project" -- the Museum FAQ Conversations on YouTube with museum colleagues from all around the world.  Worth another look and listen, if I do say so myself. And COMING IN 2021 -- Museum FAQ 2.0!  Let me know about a topic or person (including yourself!) that I should include in the next batch of Museum FAQ videos.




    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"
  • Revisiting 10 Principles of Good Design



    The work of industrial designer Dieter Rams deftly spans both the 20th and 21st centuries. (You can see his influence on designers like Jony Ive at Apple, for example.) 

    I've kept bumping into articles and books (like the excellent As Little Design As Possible) about Rams recently, so I thought I'd revisit his 10 Principles of Good Design below.  The 10 Principles certainly are an excellent reference as we think about design work in museum (and non-museum!) settings.


    Dieter Rams Ten Principles of “Good Design”


    Good Design Is Innovative: The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

    Good Design Makes a Product Useful: A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product while disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

    Good Design Is Aesthetic: The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful. Good Design Makes A Product Understandable: It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.

    Good Design Makes A Product Understandable: It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory. 

    Good Design Is Unobtrusive: Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.

    Good Design Is Honest: It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept

    Good Design Is Long-lasting: It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.

    Good Design Is Thorough Down to the Last Detail: Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.

    Good Design Is Environmentally Friendly: Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.

    Good Design Is as Little Design as Possible: Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.



    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"