Continuing the Conversation about Participatory Exhibits

    Improve listing Presented by

June 2, 2014 - 5:00 pm Registration Deadline

Recently blog postings and newspaper articles have recorded polarized reactions to participatory exhibits. Are they trendy attempts to turn art museums from anticipated contemplative experiences to community centers or circuses or are they efforts to democratize museums by sharing authority with visitors?  

Explore the discussion of what a participatory exhibit is and the impact the approach is having on us who make exhibits at a variety of museums. This workshop will use participatory activities to think about what kinds of participatory exhibits we are making and to brainstorm participatory elements for an art exhibit.

Draft Agenda 

Nick Capasso, Director of Fitchburg Art Museum and BJ Larson, Deputy Director, NEMA

Introduction to the topic and the agenda

Tour of the Fitchburg Art Museum 
Laura Howick, Educator, Fitchburg Art Museum
Tour with attention to community-based exhibits and activities in the exhibits

What is a participatory exhibit?  
A facilitated group discussion of the many exhibits and activities that can be considered “participatory” its purpose within the context of an exhibit.

Identification of 5 types of participation experiences on which to focus in the afternoon  


Breakout Brainstorming Groups  
Attendees group themselves at the five identified tables.  Each group brainstorms and notes participatory experiences for Fitchburg Art Museum’s Greek and Roman Galleries

Create a Participatory Experience
Each table selects their favorite participatory experience and makes a mock up of it using materials on hand in the Greek and Roman Galleries

Try out the Experiences
Everyone tries the participatory activities

Wrap up Discussion