Structure of A Museum Exhibit

The Beginning


In your museum exhibit teams, view the online exhibit about Alice Cunningham Fletcher’s time with the Sioux and consider the idea of flow and cohesion in storytelling.

A good exhibit, like a story, has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

  • The beginning draws the audience in and sets the theme and purpose of the exhibit.
  • The middle contains the information and perspectives that make up the main body of the exhibit.
  • The ending sums up the exhibit’s purpose and leaves the reader considering the important issues that the exhibit raises.

Look at the beginning of the exhibit together and note how it uses the “Foreword” section to set the scene. In the space of a single paragraph, it lets you know what part of history you’re in, where in the world you are, and who the major characters will be. It even gives you some hints as to the exhibit’s purpose.

Now evaluate the strength of the exhibit’s beginning. With your group, make notes on the following questions:

  • What did the creators do to introduce the exhibit?
  • Does the exhibit engage and orient the audience by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and establishing one or multiple point(s) of view?
    • How does it accomplish that or fail to do so?
  • What artifacts—if any—are involved in creating the beginning of the exhibit?

Open Notebook

Share your ideas with the full class.