Activities and Resources

#MyCHMExhibit Challenge


Put on your museum thinking caps and get ready to create your very own exhibit—at home!

In this activity, participants will learn about various phases of the museum exhibit development process. In addition, participants will gain an understanding of museum careers that are integral to the exhibit development process such as curator, registrar, experience designer, and filmmaker through personal interviews from CHM’s own team. Lastly, participants will design a museum exhibit at home with five personal objects, or what we in the museum world call artifacts.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the exhibit development process and associated museum careers. 
  • Design a museum exhibit at home with five personal objects. 
  • Take a picture of your creation and share with us on social media with #MyCHMExhibit.


Select a personal item, piece of clothing, retro technology, book, and photo to include in your museum exhibit at home.

This exercise is broken up into four different sections, each highlighting an important role in the exhibit development process. Learn about each role and each step in the process from our CHM team. Put your new skills to the test and create your #MyCHMExhibit by completing the activity worksheet. Try this on your own or in teams of 2-4.

Download the activity worksheet

1. Choose a Topic (and Do Your Research) 

Exhibit Role: Curator

Choose a topic! One of the first steps in developing an exhibit is choosing a topic you would like to interpret for your visitors. A topic could be about a person, place, or thing; or it could be an abstract idea, like Love or Childhood. Once the topic is chosen, the curator will research the topic to develop some mastery of the subject and identify artifacts from the collection that supports it.

#MyCHMExhibit | CHM’s Software History Center Director and Curator David C. Brock explains the role of the curator and kicks off the #MyCHMExhibit Challenge. His exhibit topic: Microchips and Space.

2. Select Artifacts

Exhibit Role: Registrar

The registrar finds the artifacts the curator has selected in the collection. The registrar assesses the condition of the artifacts, measures them, considers how they might be mounted in the exhibit, and creates a catalog record for each artifact.

#MyCHMExhibit | CHM’s Collections Manager and Registrar Aurora Tucker explains the role of the registrar and next steps in the #MyCHMExhibit Challenge: keep the artifacts safe and cataloged.

3. Design It (and Break it Down)

Exhibit Role: Experience Designer

Once the main topic and artifacts are chosen, the experience designer will develop key messages, usually three to five things we want visitors to learn, feel, or consider about the topic. It helps to think about your exhibit as a story but with some key takeaway messages, almost like a story with a moral. Once the story has been developed, it’s time to consider how the story will be told, in other words, the design of the exhibit.

#MyCHMExhibit | CHM’s Vice President of Collections and Exhibitions Kirsten Tashev wears many hats, including that of experience designer. Tashev explains the role of an experience designer and shares how she would interpret Brock’s artifact selections to make a unique experience for CHM visitors.

4. Tell a Story with Video

Exhibit Role: Filmmaker

Video, along with other interactive and interpretive media, is a key part of making an exhibit. A video can capture multiple points of view, relate personal stories, and evoke emotions to make an exhibit more compelling for visitors. A video can create atmosphere through images, sound effects, and music.

#MyCHMExhibit | CHM’s Media Director Jon Plutte shares his love for film-making and the exciting possibilities of video to help bring exhibit stories to life. 

5. Test It! (Optional) 

Exhibit Role: Visitor Experience

Once your exhibit is done, test it with real visitors or family members/friends. Notice if your visitors are picking up on your key messages and takeaways in a post visit interview about what they learned or experienced. Observe to see if they are enjoying themselves or asking interesting questions. Do they seem bored or confused? If so, figure out which parts of the exhibit you can improve. You can always change your exhibit based on visitor feedback and try again!


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