Today at the National Zoo we couldn’t help ourselves but be drawn to all the cute animals, both big and small. Yet, as you look around, each habitat and enclosure is different. The walls that have what we would consider exhibition style labels all tell their own unique story. While a zoo is not a museum, we both strive for creating a feeling or a state of mind for our visitors. While the feeling may be directed by the topic of the museum or exhibition, the state of mind you place your visitors in is important.
For example, at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the exhibition revolving around the history of the slave trade is purposefully made dark and narrow. You feel uncomfortable and confined. Your emotions are meant to sync with the history you are learning about.
As Tim Wendel explained to us earlier this week, place your reader [in this case audience] in a scene. That scene is the state of mind we want our visitors to either understand upon their entrance or gain following their visit. We strive to tell stories about the items in our museum, whether they are object-based or story-based. By creating a desirable state of mind your audience can gain an even greater understanding and experience of your exhibition and your museum.