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VCU Archaeology

Experience in the benefits and difficulties in constructing an exhibit

Note from Bernard K. Means: This blog is related to a course entitled Visualizing and Exhibiting Anthropology. As you can see, students were tasked with creating an exhibit, as well as presenting a research poster at the Spring Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium. Included here is a reflective blog, a one page summary for the student’s part of the exhibit, and the presented research poster. Blanks on the poster were places where 3-D printed  replicas were placed.

by Grace Riggs

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Holding a bust of Frederick Douglass

This past semester taking Anthropolgy 430, “Visualizing and Exhibiting Anthropology,” my classmates and I acquired valuable experience in the benefits and difficulties in constructing an exhibit. This class is valuable for any Anthropology major, but possibly also for other disciplines that may encounter similar opportunities and obstacles while exhibiting. Through our classroom activities we explored different tactics for teaching lesson plans, as a means of efficiently teaching information. One method for doing so is to include objects that participants of the activity can physically touch. Engaging multiple senses while thinking about and discussing objects can help increase information retention.

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Through the course of the semester students either chose or were assigned subjects pertaining to specific shelves they would “curate.” Through this we gained valuable experience in working with as a team to put on a singular exhibit. Through discussion, we decided how we wanted to present our given information.


Despite prior knowledge of difficulties that the students before us experienced, it was still difficult for us to reach all of our created deadlines to “pull off the exhibit.” While I think that the exhibit of the students before us was successful, I think we were successful in identifying ways to improve and executing such. I think it would have been beneficial to have created a  “school of world studies exhibit opening,” however, it is a busy time of year and such event planning would require the exhibit being finished earlier than we had.

Personally, I  am very grateful for the experience that this class provided, due to having a serious interest in pursuing anthropology further. Especially, considering that I do not have an immediate plan for the transition from undergraduate learning. This class provides at least an initial experience with aspects of collections and exhibiting that I believe can be beneficial in this transitory time. My only regret regarding the class is that I did not push harder to present and exhibit about a topic that I was passionate about, rather than one I’d been assigned. However, this class enabled me to present at UROP, VCU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program for a second year.






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