“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” Marco Aurelio
We think that might be of your interest to start explaining today and in future posts which are the different types of exhibitions that we can create to generate emotions and sensations to the museum’s visitors, we mean all of us. Days ago we have explained which were the different types of exhibitions that exist but have stayed there, we did not go any further than that. From now to the future, we are giving you a full explanation with all kind of details of each type. Today we are going to begin with the emotional exhibitions. First, we want to put clear that when we say exhibitions we mean museum’s contents, not just a unique exhibition taking place in a museum or temporary show. Heritage is included as a way to explain something to the public. Everything related with museum’s contents that is shown to the public it is an exhibition to us. Well, within what we define as emotional exhibitions, we do two groups: the aesthetic exhibitions and the romantic ones. Today we are going to explain what is a romantic exhibition only.
The romantic exhibition has the objective to show contents giving determine emotions, making sensations grow inside visitors or spectators. We must develop an atmosphere to involve visitors, to create a style of special reality understanding, with the use “drama representations”. As doctor Pott said, professional well know museologist in our field, the “romantic focus” requires a few keys that will be used as human soul “open doors”, and using them we will be able to invite to the visitor’s active participation. Therefore, the human figure must be represented and reflected in the most natural way possible. “Key are the representation of the human reason in so far as it forms a bridge between the visitors and the content’s exhibition. And do it in a natural or enlarged size.
Visitors just to find themselves comparing with other persons, no matter which part of the history we talk about, to set up a closer or further identification of the person depending of anyone’s profile. The romantic focus assume a positive and nice role to share human experiences. Presence of the human figure in these kind of exhibitions is very necessary, because we want to make visitors time travel with their imagination, to rely on imagination to go away, to do that time travel, to coupled mentally with the museum scenography. If we, as professional museographists, are able to do that properly, to reproduce a human situation in a human scale, visitors will make that travel, if we use a smaller scale visitors won’t believe in what they get as a didactic experience in the museum.
The romantic exhibitions that are more successful are the ones that assembly believable environment reproduced faithfully in full detail. As we understand, the really dramatic effect is what we call “landscape effect” which allows visitors to enter and become part of the scene (such as open dioramas). Even in some museums this evocative recreation is supported by the inclusion of actors-guides making plays related with the content exposed. The goal is usually to make visitors to be backwards in time. To make these time travel also we rely on created wax figures normally, sometimes even animated (Animatronix), or even with the use of holograms, FX, or all together. There are other techniques to use, though not widely seen in museums, as is playing with the sense of smell, sensations of wind and rain, etc. We want to generate realistic sensations, away from statism and dull experiences, to keep visitors away from silence, no moving, and dust from the windows. It can be a little confusing for the visitor at first sight as it takes to distinguish truth from fiction. We try to recreate the atmosphere of any moment of history to integrate visitors as part of it. For example, if we are able to reproduce a scene from the life of Rome at the beginning of the first millennium, archaeological elements outlined in the relevant section will be perceived by the visitor in a completely differently way than if we had not lived that time travel inside the museum. It is seen all around us, we learn, in a fluid way and having fun. It is no disrespect to the History, it is a way to teach history or any other subject, but enhancing its didactic reason to all kind of audiences.