Free Exhibit Resources

Exhibit Resources from POW!

Introduction to The EXHIBIT CHEAPBOOKS

The Exhibit Cheapbooks have always celebrated the “worldwide” nature of museums. You will find varied exhibit ideas from museum colleagues from around the world inside each volume.
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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

  • Thinking about Making & History




    I'm on the road in California working with the fine folks from Folsom History and thinking about Making & History.

    So what prompts me to make this trip to Folsom?  Well, Maker Stuff.  And by "Maker Stuff" I mean the eclectic group of artists, craftspeople, tinkerers, and engineers (amongst others) who get herded under the big umbrella term "Makers."

    At a recent meeting of museum folks in Atlanta, it turned out that many of the other folks in the room were History Museum people. It's not that I don't like History Museums, or admire the people who work in them, but my museum "tribes" tend more toward Science Center and Children's Museum folks (and their respective conferences.)

    Anyway (me being me) at a certain point I started to berate those nice fellow museum professionals for "completely missing the boat" on the Maker Movement.  It also immediately became clear that many of the people at that meeting had absolutely no idea of what a Maker Space or "makers" even were! YIKES!

    I mean, what genre of museums is better placed than History Museums to engage people with the stories and stuff behind inventing, designing, building, and manufacturing things?  It's in their institutional DNA!  Not to mention the enormous opportunities for History Museums to tap into new sets of audiences and communities that are deeply engaged in Maker activities that would love to connect with such awesome repositories of the stories and stuff associated with Making.

    I'm very excited to help the folks in Folsom think more about the possibilities of bringing making and history together. If you've seen or created interesting opportunities for making/history, include some 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"
  • Light, Color, and Beauty



    Since the connected topics of light, color, and beauty seemed to come up so often during my experiences at the recent ASTC Conference in Pittsburgh, I thought I'd share some of my favorite light/beauty inspirations.

    A wonderful example is Sainte-Chapelle, the royal chapel completed in the year 1248 in Paris.

    It is amazing to step inside the chapel surrounded by multi-story stained-glass windows.  The light and color shifts and changes as you move around inside the space.  In some ways, it feels like you are actually inside a stained-glass window!



    A more modern take on employing light and color in architecture is artist Olafur Eliasson's installation called Your rainbow panorama.



    Situated on top of the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum art museum in Aarhus, Denmark, Your rainbow panorama invites you to experience the familiar (a city skyline) in unfamiliar ways. Olafur Eliasson's creation consists of a 150-meter-long and three meter-wide circular walkway in glass in all the colors of the spectrum. Your rainbow panorama is mounted on slender columns 3.5 meters above the roof of ARoS with a diameter of 52 meters.





    Here's a quote from Eliasson about this work:

    Your rainbow panorama establishes a dialogue with the existing architecture and reinforces what was already there, that is to say the view across the city. I have created a space that can almost be said to erase the boundary between inside and outside – a place where you become a little uncertain as to whether you have stepped into a work of art or into part of the museum. This uncertainty is important to me, as it encourages people to think and sense beyond the limits within which they are accustomed to function.” 



    Architect Keiichiro Sako takes the playful aspects of light and color into the design of this kindergarten building in China.





    The lucky students are completely surrounded by rainbow colors -- on the stairs, in windows, and inside their classroom spaces!




    Of course, the most fun is building and playing with beautiful light and color yourself. For that purpose, I'd suggest getting some colorful, translucent Magna-Tiles  (You can get them here at Amazon, or at other online stores.) I hope your days ahead are filled with light and color and beauty!





    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"
  • Off to Pittsburgh and the ASTC 2022 Conference!



    I'm looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new folks at the upcoming ASTC 2022 Conference in Pittsburgh!

    POW! is proud to be one of this year's Conference Sponsors.

    If you aren't able to attend this year's conference in person, you can check out my reports from Pittsburgh on my Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram channels.

    However, if you will be in Pittsburgh, I have a special bonus for ExhibiTricks readers!  The first three conference attendees who find me each day and mention ExhibiTricks will receive a fabulous prize! (HINT: I've written about this project in a blog post during this past June.)

    Looking forward to a fantastic ASTC 2022 Conference!



    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"
  • What's your Plan B?



    As an exhibits person, I always like to have a "Plan B" (or even Plan C or Plan D!) to deal with anticipated problems.  Do you have spare parts at the ready for your interactive exhibits?  Do you have a secondary (or tertiary!) installation schedule in place to deal with the seemingly inevitable construction delays for new museum buildings?

    Those are good plans to make because even if those anticipated challenges never happen, you can still feel prepared.

    But what about unexpected or unanticipated problems -- things that leave you feeling woefully unprepared or downright baffled? 

    Take, for example, the pipe that burst in my workshop yesterday.  Unfortunately, the break occurred in between the exterior wall and the water meter, so the shut-off valve was after the burst section, which meant the only real way to definitively resolve the problem was to turn the water off outside the building at the curb.

    After calling my wife at work, the fire department, and the water utility, I frantically started grabbing duct tape and rubber tubing in an effort to stop or slow down the gallons of water shooting out of the pipe like a firehose.

    Eventually, a water utility worker came and turned off the water at the curb (but only after having to break open the metal cover to the access pipe -- but that's another story ... )

    Anyway, as I spent today cleaning and running fans and calling insurance companies and plumbers, I realized that I had no real "Plan B" for what had happened with the burst pipe.  I just had to trust and rely on a set of existing systems to carry me through to a place where I could begin to put things back to "normal." 

    I guess I share this to say that it is good to have a "Plan B," but it's also ok to realize that sometimes we will be caught off-guard.

    In that spirit, I close by sharing this poem:


    “Our Real Work” by Wendell Berry

    It may be that when we no longer know what to do
    we have come to our real work,

    and that when we no longer know which way to go
    we have come to our real journey.

    The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

    The impeded stream is the one that sings.




    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"
  • What's the Definition of Done?



    It was my great pleasure recently to share a conversation with Christian Greer, President & CEO at Michigan Science Center, which you can see here on the POW! YouTube Channel.

    Christian focused on the notion of "What's the Definition of Done?" and mentioned some great resources and tips that museum folks can use.

    On the one hand, a project is "done" when the money and/or time run out, but from another perspective, projects should never truly be finished because there are always possibilities for growth and evolution.

    Wherever you land on that philosophical spectrum, you should check out Christian's video -- it's short, but packed with great information!



    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"