Technical Leaflet #5: Developing Archival Exhibitions

By Shawn Aubitz and Gail F. Stern

The Technical Leaflet Series “is intended to provide brief, practical information about selected archival topics suitable especially for beginners in the profession. “ The Technical Leaflets continue to serve as introductions for new archivists, archivists working with new formats, and solid principles on many topics.

With more and more institutions focusing on their archives and special collections as their unique holdings and greater investment in public history and programming, exhibitions featuring archives, manuscripts, rare books and printed material are major vehicles of public service.

This leaflet covers major areas of exhibition preparation and installation in broad strokes; curators of analog exhibitions  would no doubt have additional questions on planning gallery space, working within a limited space, and creating a logical flow.

The leaflet needs updating to reflect innovations in analog exhibitions (the inclusion of multimedia, for example) and digital exhibitions that necessitate some understanding of web design and writing for the web.  Providing examples and resources for a dynamic medium is always tricky, but resources on basic principles of good web design, etc., would be useful.

As a whole, however, the leaflet still provides basic practical advice applicable to all levels of experience: evaluating preservation issues, designing engaging layouts, and creating exhibits on a budget.  


A digitized version of this Technical Leaflet can be found at


–Maureen Cech, Technical Leaflets Editor

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