Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers Notes

This resource was createdby Leeds Museums and Galleries | The Discovery Centre

This Learning Story is designed to give students an insight into how museum exhbitions are designed and created. It covers a range of 'behind the scenes' roles, in addition to the exhibition itself, and public engagement.

Curriculum Links

STEM careers for all: Life skills: Gatsby Benchmarks:

  • 3. Addressing the needs of each pupil
  • 4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
  • 5. Encounters with employers and employees 


Discussion Ideas

  • When you think about museums, what words or feelings come to mind?
  • Do you think museums are important?
    • Why / why not?
  • Is it 'right' that so many objects are kept in museum stores? Or should these objects be available for people to buy to have for themselves?
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each idea?


Activity Ideas

  • Use the resources in this Learning Story to support groups of students to curate their own exhibition. This could be on a particular subject (such as climate change) or a theme (such as 'objects that are important to us'). 
    • See the activities below and the View Resources page for supporting media and documents, including an example timeline to help with planning.
    • Once the exhibition is ready, hold a “grand opening event” for other students, teachers and/ or family
  • Use the 'Categorising Museum Objects' downloadable activity pack to get students thinking about the different ways objects can be categorised. Each object image can be placed in a different museum category.
    • What other ways could these objects be categorised? For example; by material, by place of origin, by use, by colour etc.
    • Is it 'right' to categorize objects in this way? 
      • What are the advantages of doing so? (Makes it easier to organize, each curator has responsibility for a different category, objects in the same category are often similar).
      • What are the disadvantages of doing so? (Life is not neatly separated into categories so what connections do we 'miss' by categorising objects like this? What about objects that fit into more than one category, e.g. a piece of cotton might fit the costume and textiles, or industrial history or social history category.
  • Create a basic museum database of chosen objects. Use the downloadable  'Setting up a basic museum database' notes to help.

How will you interpret your objects?

  • Choose an object to write a museum label for (see the 'Museum Interpretation' chapter for more information). The label should:
    • Be no more than 30 words long
    • Say what the object is
    • Give some interesting information about it


 How will you design your exhibition?

  • Watch the film on Museum Photography. Set up a mini photography 'studio'. This can be done using mobile phones or more advanced cameras. Think about:
    • What is the best angle to photograph the image from?
    • How to keep the camera perfectly still while taking the photograph?
    • What is the best lighting for the object?
    • Will you need more than one image to really show this object off to visitors? 
  • How will you market your exhibition? 
    • Create a short video to persuade people to come and visit it. Watch the 'Recording videos for social media' film for some top tips.
    • Create mock social media posts for different platforms.
    • Create flyers and / or posters to advertise the exhbition. Where will you distribute these?
  • Post exhibition activity ideas:
    • Do a presentation/ make a scrapbook/ picture diary on the journey pupils had in making a museum
    • Write a blog, using pictures about what it was like to make a museum exhibition.
    • Hold mock interviews for a museum and gallery post.