[ISHMap-List] recent literature on curating a map exhibit
ed.dahl at sympatico.ca
Sun Apr 6 17:46:05 CEST 2014
I think you need to distinguish between best practices to follow
the physical object (physical condition of the artifact, matting,
lighting, environmental conditions, security, etc.) and those concerning
the content of the document (panels, captions, etc.).
Doing the right thing as far as the physical object is concerned will
that you deal with the extensive conservation literature which exists
not only the "recent literature," since these matters have been
Perhaps begin with a visit to the website of the American Institute for
Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works:
Another step would be to visit active professional conservators, all
would be knowledgeable about matters relating to exhibitions.
Perhaps at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin?
All the best,
P.S. I notice that you say the maps you will be exhibiting are
I have never curated an exhibition which featured only such maps, but
several which included both "historic" and "just historical."
Ed Dahl, 720, chemin Fogarty, Val-des-Monts (Québec) J8N 7S9, CANADA
TEL: (819) 671-9721 FAX: (819) 671-9722
ed.dahl at sympatico.ca
Begin forwarded message:
From: Matthew Edney <edney at usm.maine.edu>
Date: April 6, 2014 10:41:37 AM GMT-04:00
To: "ishm at lazarus.elte.hu" <ISHM at lazarus.elte.hu>
Subject: Re: [ISHMap-List] Recent Literature on Curating A Map Exhibit
Alex raises an interesting question. I don't know of any literature
about best practices in displaying maps in exhibitions - is there any?
There is, of course, a large literature about museums and exhibitions
practice generally; my wife, who teaches museum practice (among other
things) and who recently worked with students to prepare a successful
art exhibition, introduced me to a great book on the preparation of
labels that has much of interest in making one think about the
exhibition as a whole:
Serrell, Beverly. Exhibit Labels: An Interpretive Approach. Walnut
Creek, Calif.: Altamira, 1996.
But she has not found much literature about leading students in the
design process; her own approach was always to frame student
activities so that they had to take the lead while she served only as
an advisor. As she says, if the exhibition was a success (and it was),
then it was because of the students, but if it failed, it was because
Several things that she did that might be of interest:
a) she had each student select two items from the collections that
they could put into conversation with each other . . . even if one of
the items did not make it into the final exhibition, this process
helps stimulate ideas for the labels
b) each student should write the first draft of each label, but then
the students should work communally to edit them … the instructor
should not do the editing!
c) the students should examine the gallery space themselves, measuring
its dimensions, and consider the placement and therefore selection of
And so on.
Hope this helps . . .
On Apr 6, 2014, at 6:02 AM, "Hidalgo, Alexander" <a.hidalgo at tcu.edu>
> The following academic year, I will be working with graduate
> students on curating a map exhibit based on a small collection of
> historic maps held in my university’s special collections.
> Could you recommend any recent (or classic) literature on best
> practices for such an endeavor?
> Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
> Warm regards,
> Alex Hidalgo, PhD
> Assistant Professor of History
> Texas Christian University
> Fort Worth, TX
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