Museum@Home: Gallery Talk

Activity 1: Collection
Activity 2: Exhibit

Activity 3

Share your exhibit

Time needed: 20-45 minutes
Materials needed: Your exhibit, people to share it with

LEARN: What is a museum gallery talk?

In the second activity, you created an exhibit using your collection or objects in your house to tell a story or share information. How do museums use their exhibits to help visitors connect these stories to their own lives?

At Revolutionary Spaces we have a team of staff members who engage with visitors to the Old State House and Old South Meeting House. Some museums call these people tour guides or docents. We call them education associates. Their job is to teach people in the museum by providing them with opportunities to talk and ask questions about our exhibits. Education associates give gallery talks, interact with visitors in the galleries, and help the museum education manager teach programs for school groups on field trips.

Here are some pictures of Nicole Mello, one of our education associates, leading a gallery talk at the Old State House. We asked her to share a little bit about her work at Revolutionary Spaces:

What’s the best part about your job? 

The best part about my job is when a visitor gets so excited to hear what I’m saying, they just have to react. When a guest gasps, laughs, or cries, I know I’m sharing these histories in a meaningful way.

What do you do when someone asks you a question you don’t know the answer to?

When someone asks a question I don’t know the answer to, I find a way for us to answer it together as a group. We’ll ask other education associates, our friends around the museum, and, if all else fails, we turn to primary sources—historical documents from the 1700s.

YOUR TURN: Create a gallery talk for your exhibit.

Can you use your museum at home exhibit to create a short gallery talk for your family that gives them a chance to ask questions and learn more about the objects and stories in your exhibit? Here are the steps:

Step 1: Decide what information or stories you would like to focus on in your gallery talk

  • Instead of talking about your whole exhibit you may want to talk about one or two objects or one part of the bigger story.

Step 2: Write an outline of what you are going to say

  • You can write down a list of things you want to say or write out a whole script.
  • When our education associates are learning how to give a gallery talk they write down notes about what they would like to say on cards so they can check them as they practice.

Step 3: Gather your audience

  • Invite everyone in your house to gather together for your gallery talk.
  • Think about how you can get them excited about what they will learn and talk about.

Step 4: Give your gallery talk

  • When giving your gallery talk it is important to speak slowly and clearly.
  • Be sure to allow time for your audience to ask questions and share their own experiences.
  • Always thank your audience for listening and sharing when you are done.

Step 5: Share your collection, exhibit, and/or gallery talk with Revolutionary Spaces

  • If you have permission from an adult you can share photos of your work with Revolutionary Spaces on our social media accounts: @RevSpaces on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Use these #hashtags to tag your work: #RSMuseumatHome, #RSHomeMuseum, #MuseumWeek, #RevSpaces.

** BE SAFE! **

You should always ask a trusted adult before sharing any information online. Do not give out personal information such as your address or telephone number. Do not share pictures or videos of yourself or others if you do not have permission or do not feel safe to do so.

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