Harry White’s 52 Exhibit Design Aphorisms

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By Stephanie Murg Comment

(From blog.orselli.net).jpgOver at his ExhibiTricks blog, Paul Orselli interviews Harry White (at right, in a fetching chapeau), the longtime director of exhibits at (and now a consultant to) the TechniQuest Science Center in Cardiff, Wales. Among our favorite parts of the Q&A comes when White discusses his famed exhibit aphorisms cards, a deck of 52 exhibit design-related quotations, jokes, and provocations that he created as a teaching tool. We prefer those that White describes as “shorter and reflect[ive of] bitter experience,” such as: “Sufficient ruggedisation of loose parts turns them into weapons” and “For every hole or gap, there is a corresponding human limb or appendage to get wedged in it.” We think some of the others would make excellent inspirational posters:

Exhibits are about the phenomena. If the Visitor notices that the design is good, then it’s not good enough.

The interactive content of an exhibit is inversely proportional to the area and expense of the graphic surrounding it.

The probability of somebody doing the absolutely inconceivable is never exactly zero.