Guidelines for the Effective Use of Temporary Educational Exhibits in Botanic Gardens and Arboreta

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University of Delaware
In addition to other functions, botanical gardens have a very important educational dimension. Their financial support comes in part from public money--tax dollars and gate receipts-they have an obligation to communicate something and offer services worthy of that support. Because a popular vehicle of communication is the use of temporary and permanent exhibitions and displays are affected more by exhibits and displays than anything else that the garden does. Their use and quality should be given serious consideration to ensure that the garden's messages are being transmitted effectively. Visitors of an educational exhibit tells a story through interpretation of ideas and presentation of objects is different from a display, which is simply an arrangement of objects with no intended educational message and displays each have their merits in a botanic garden or arboretum. The aesthetic quality of some areas, as a landscape vista, might be destroyed by on-site information and ideas are more appropriate than arrangements of plants. This thesis is written with a conviction that temporary educational exhibits are a tremendously valuable tool for botanical gardens and arboreta to interpret their plant collections and garden functions, and to transmit a love of plants. The development of an exhibit falls logically into two phases, planning and production. Planning consists of a series of distinct but related steps (developing a theme, writing objectives and a storyline, drawing up a production schedule, doing research, choosing plants and other objects, and carrying out related planning activities)which, when finished, will outline the procedure for the mechanical stages of production, installation, and removal. An exhibit does not exist in isolation but should be integrated into other programs at the garden is needed to inform people that the exhibit is there for their viewing theme. The life of a temporary exhibit can be extended with the use of supplementary printed materials. The Publicity Special events will reinforce the exhibit can be further extended by showing it at other I gardens and museums. Exhibit evaluation is the means of determining how well the messages have been conveyed, and where the strengths and weaknesses of an exhibit lie. Results of evaluation will provide guidance for future exhibition plans.
Education - public gardens, Exhibits, Interpretation, Evaluation