Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Beginner's Guide: Creating a Museum Exhibit

My group's exhibit.


The curating process was filled with a lot of work and preparation for our museum exhibit. The analysis process was important when creating this exhibit. It was important to figure out what our main theme of our poster was going to be. In the process, we took a look at all the sources we were given. For each source, we wrote down what motivated the author/creator to produce the source and what a visitor should learn from seeing this source in our exhibit. After analyzing all the sources, we thought about what the main theme was with all of them. The sources mainly focused on slavery and cotton production. We came up with the title "Spinning Into Slavery" with that in mind. The first source was a photo of Richard Arkwright's invention, the spinning frame. It was the first water powered spinning machine. The next source was a picture of the Boott Cotton Mill. This was built alongside a power canal system, and produced drillings, sheetings, linens and yarns. The third source was the title page for a Student/Teacher Teaching Kit. It showed that slavery in the south was driven by the need for cotton, and was intended to make people aware that the north was not as innocent as it claimed to be. Next was a graph of US slavery statistics from 1770 through 1860. It showed that slavery spiked in some states after 1820, once the Industrial Revolution started. This was intended to show that industrialization encouraged slavery. The next source was a map of British cotton trade in about 1850. This map showed the imports and exports of cotton around the globe. There were a lot of imports & exports in and out of Great Britain, India, China and the Carribean. No imports or exports to South America or Australia were shown on the map. The last source was a table showing the number of textile mills and slaves in Lowell, MA. We made this into a line graph to better display the spike in slave population as more textile mills were built, and as the Industrial Revolution developed. We hope that when people saw our poster, they learned about the issue of slavery once the Industrial Revolution started, and how big of a deal it was.

Visiting the Exhibits

Each exhibit I saw was very organized and showed a lot of interesting and surprising information. First, group A's exhibit "Spinning a City". Group A's exhibit was about the loom, the Spinning Jenny, and other ways to produce linens. This exhibit taught me that London's population went up due to revolutionary inventions like the Spinning Jenny, and people were intrigued by them. The next exhibit was called "Steam Powered Transportation: Now We're Getting Somewhere". As the title says, the exhibit was about different forms of transportation that changed how people lived. Inventions like the steam engine and railroads helped people get to where they wanted, faster. I liked this poster because of the timeline and thought it was a smart way to present the information. Group C's exhibit was titled "Pollution of the Revolution". This exhibit was interesting because it showed the effect inventions had on the environment. We've been learning about how amazing the inventions were that were created, which is true, yet this is the other side of the story and the poster includes a photo of polluted water filling up a street while smoke comes out of buildings. This helped me learn that pollution was a huge deal and grew rapidly due to inventions. The last exhibit I saw was titled "Condemning the Innocent: Child Labor in the Industrial Revolution". The title immediately told me that children during the Revolution were put to work at a very young age. A fact that surprised me was that 50% of ten year olds were put to work. Something that disappointed me was finding out that children were given the job to pull loads because they were small enough to fit in the mines. Even though the topic was negative, I liked how this group had little mine cars to connect their information, and I thought that was a good idea. 

My favorite poster: Group C's "Pollution of the Revolution"

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