call for papers

for the Spring 2019 Issue of Exhibition



EXHIBITION MAKING: The Behind-the-Scenes Process

As part of the journal’s process for selecting issue themes, we talk to NAME members and others interested in the world of museum exhibitions. In discussions and surveys, the topic of “making” an exhibition—who does what, how it comes together, the nuts and bolts—always rises to the top of the list. So, for spring 2019, Exhibition takes on “creating.” What is there—or is there—a best way to create an exhibition, from start to finish, that will make it memorable, impactful, and able to engage visitors? What are the must-have elements? Is there a “standard” approach? And if so, is it viable or is it outdated? Are we in need of new, revolutionary models? What might those be? Where are they happening?  

Papers might discuss best practices in how to:

  • craft an RFP to ensure accurate responses for your project goals
  • develop a budget (including for exhibitions on a shoestring)
  • decide the key players and roles needed for a particular project
  • shape an experience—what skills, qualities, and processes are a must for a designer?
  • create a management process that works
  • find the voice, look, and feel for an exhibition—and how to present it to stakeholders and donors
  • involve community 
  • tailor an exhibition to different audiences and learning styles
  • ensure accessibility and adherence to Universal Design 
  • in general, do any or all of the following: conceptualize, develop, design, test, or build successful exhibitions (especially exhibitions that are “successful” for both the intended audience and its creators)

Proposals might also argue for entirely new approaches to creating exhibitions, using existing or proposed models, or using models from outside the museum field. 

Articles might focus on a specific exhibition or provide an overview of practices. In all cases, articles must be descriptive and critical and analytical; and evaluation, even if informal, must evidence arguments for the strengths and weaknesses of the project.

The exhibitions/installations analyzed can be of any size or budget, and take place in any of a variety of spaces: museums of all disciplines, historical sites, galleries, institutions that collect and display living collections, outdoor public spaces, or other physical environments. Proposals might come from designers, architects, developers, interpretive planners, curators, writers, educators, collection managers, or others who create and contribute to exhibitions.

Proposals of 250 words maximum (submitted as Word documents) must:

  • tell how the proposed article would relate to the issue’s theme;
  • indicate the approaches, strategies, or knowledge that readers would take away from the article;
  • convey how the article would raise questions or illuminate larger issues that are widely applicable (especially if the proposal focuses on a single project); 
  • take into account that articles will be expected to provide critical, candid discussions about issues and challenges; and
  • include a proposed title.


Deadlines and Information

Proposals are due June 4, 2018. Along with your proposal, briefly describe your background and your qualifications for writing the article (please do not include resumes or cvs). 

Our editorial advisory board will vet proposals in a blind review, and you will be notified of acceptance or non-acceptance in late June. If your proposal is accepted, articles (2,000 words maximum with five to six high-resolution images) will be due in late August 2018. 


PLEASE SEND ALL PROPOSALS VIA EMAIL TO: Ellen Snyder-Grenier (, Editor, Exhibition.