September 2009
Billie Silvey
Types of Exhibits
Museums collect and preserve artifacts of historical, scientific or
artistic value and exhibit them to the public.  Both children and
adults can learn from them or just enjoy looking at them.  Most
feature continuing and special exhibits.

In the past, museum guards, signs and glass cases enforced strict
“Do Not Touchâ€� rules.  That’s still the case if the
object is delicate or old or valuable, but more and more
museums offer interactive exhibits which engage visitors, making
them participants and not just viewers.
Museums display collections of artifacts, like these carved
carousel animals.
Dioramas are among my favorite types of museum exhibits.  
The three-dimensional, full-size replicas or scale models of
landscapes can make historical and natural environments come

Scale model dioramas take us back in time by showing
historical scenes, like the scene above of World War II Berlin
or the one below of Tokyo in the Edo period.
Full-size models carry us to parts of the world we may not have
visited, as in the model of seabirds from the natural history
in Milan.  Taxidermy in natural poses is combined with
reconstructed settings, which fade into realistically painted
Types of museums include the following:

Archeological museums exhibit the findings of archeological digs—
the artifacts of daily life in the past.

Art museums feature the works of specific artists or eras, or works
illustrating the entire history of art.

Maritime museums and war museums trace developments in naval
history and shipbuilding and in the development of ways to wage war.

Natural history museums specialize in the natural world, with
skeletons or reconstructions of animals from the past, exhibits of the
various types of individual animals living today, and environments and the
animals that live in them.

Open air museums are reconstructions of buildings, or even entire
communities from the past, showing how people lived their daily lives and
made and used the objects of their technology.  

Page Museum at La Brea Tarpits combines open air and closed museum
exhibits.  Currently
Project 23 allows visitors to observe paleontologists
as they extract skeletons of prehistoric animals from slabs of asphalt dug
up in a construction site.

Specialized museums display artifacts of such diverse subjects as
music, beads, toys, and sports.  In addition to exhibits, museums also
offer lectures, films, performances or demonstrations.

Virtual exhibits—and even entire museums—exist through recorded
sound and images
on the web.
Science museums stimulate
science learning.  The California
Science Center is the West Coast's
largest hands-on science museum,
featuring everything from space to
technology to human anatomy to
ecology (see interior and exterior
views at right and below. Phase I
of reconstruction is complete.  
Phase II will include the World of
Bible Museums
Night at the Museum