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MFAH Exhibition Critique Project

MFAH Exhibition Critique Project

In this project you and the other students in your group will be acting as amateur museum consultants.  To understand the role of a museum consultant visit the website of consultant, Serrell & Associates.


Now that you know a little bit about what a consultant does, each student will visit the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) in the role of consultant.  You do not need to visit the museum together as a group.  You will complete the first part of this project on your own.  When you go to the museum, take a pencil, paper, and the consultant worksheets entitled “Framework” with you.  Download the “Framework” from the Serrell website.


Read through the “Framework” before going to the museum.  This “Framework” is what you will be using (and submitting in part for your grade) to guide your visit.  Note:  the “Framework” is used by actual museum consultants and other museum professionals to assist in assessing and improving the experience of museum visitors.  It focuses on issues that have been proven to influence the visitor’s experience in a museum and in specific exhibitions within the museum.


You should begin your individual visit to the MFAH getting a feel for the museum in general.  Once you’ve become acquainted with the museum you will view the permanent exhibition assigned to your group.  Group assignments will be made via Professor Announcement within the course in Canvas.  Again, you do not need to visit the museum with your group.  You can visit individually and are required to complete all but the last page of the “Framework” worksheets on your own (without your group).


Take notes about your impressions, experiences and questions during your museum visit.  Refer to the “Framework” to assist in shaping your note taking.  Once you have visited, review your notes and complete the “Framework” worksheets as directed on the worksheets themselves. Each student in your group will complete and submit a separate “Framework”.  This is an important step!  Each member of the group should form their individual opinion first.


After each member of the group has visited the museum and completed all but the last page of the “Framework” worksheets, the group will begin “meeting”.  Because this is an online class, the expectation is that the groups meet virtually.  There is NO requirement that the groups meet face-to-face.  Each group will then be responsible for completing the last page of the “Framework”, writing a three-page report, and creating a PowerPoint Presentation as if addressing the MFAH and giving them a synopsis of the group’s findings.  Remember, consultants are paid for their opinion and museums take their opinions very seriously.  Submit your project with the same level of seriousness!  Detailed instructions for the “Framework” Worksheets, Group Report and Group PowerPoint Presentation are found below.


Each student will upload their individually completed “Framework” Worksheets in Canvas in the place designated (labeled Part 1).  Then each group will upload their joint Report and PowerPoint Presentation in Canvas in the places designated (labeled Part 2 – for the Report and Part 3 – for the PowerPoint Presentation).  If you have any questions throughout this project, please don’t hesitate to ask!








































“1 Framework”


Read through this page.  The information should look familiar if you explored the consultant’s website as instructed above.  Fill in the blanks at the bottom of page:


“Exhibition Title” – (assigned to your group, not chosen individually)
“Institution” – (this is the name of the museum you visited – MFAH)
“Your Initials” – (please fill in your first and last name instead)
“Date of Visit” – (the date you individually visited the MFAH)


“2 Create Call-Outs” and “Call-Outs Continued”


The next two pages need to be filled out completely (i.e. two full pages of notes).  Look at the “Aspects” on the next Framework page to assist you in taking notes on these Call-Out pages.


“3 Assess the Aspects”


You will assign a symbol + + through – – (or NA) as instructed for each Aspect listed and place that symbol in the box next to the Aspect.  For example, the first Aspect is “1.a.  Physical and conceptual orientation devices were present”.


“4 Rate the Criteria”


You will assign a number Level 1 through Level 6 for each and place that number in the circle.  Then you will write a Rationale for the number you assigned.  Each Rationale should be at least three complete sentences.  Go back to your Call-Out pages for reference.


“5 Assessment Comparison Meeting”  


Once you’ve visited the MFAH and completed the previous Framework Worksheets on your own, you will have formed your personal opinion of the exhibition assigned to your group.  Now the group work begins!  You will meet as a group in any form or forms your group decides (i.e. in person, on the phone, via email, via Messaging, via Discussion forum within the course, etc.).  Fill in each group member’s information (from the previous Framework page) on the chart.  Then discuss as a group and record the disagreements, agreements and changes, as instructed on the worksheet page.  Each group member will be submitting this completed page with their other completed Framework Worksheet pages (i.e. I will receive a copy of this identical page from each group member).






Each group will submit one report.  The report must be at least three pages typed and double spaced.  Font size should be no larger than 12 point and margins should be no larger than 1 inch.  The minimum three pages of the report should read as an essay – this means division into paragraphs including an introduction, body and conclusion.  Be sure to use your best grammar and proof read!

The content of the report should include a general description of the museum and a more specific description of the exhibition assigned to the group.  The report must include both positives and negatives about the group members’ visits.  The group must also present areas in which the museum did well and areas that the group felt could be improved.  Based on this analysis, the group should present real recommendations to the museum.


The format of the report is at the group’s discretion.  Food for thought…  What is the name of your consulting group?  Do you have a logo? Might you include business cards with your report?  Maybe you will decide on a formal letter or maybe you will decide on a memo format for your report.  Does the group want to include graphs or charts?  Get creative!






Each group will submit one PowerPoint presentation.  Each presentation must have at least eight slides.  Required slides:


  1. Introduction


  1. Group Members’ Names


  1. Conclusion

The content of the other five slides should present the real recommendations of the group to the museum.  Use the group’s report above as a reference.  The presentation must have a minimum of three photographs taken by individual group members at the museum.  Again, get creative!


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