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NOODLING AROUND WITH EXHIBITION OPPORTUNITIES was first written for Exhibiting Cultures (ed. Steven D. Lavine & Ivan Karp) in 1991.  I was at the Smithsonian (1987) at the time and did not think of myself as a writer and certainly not as an academic.  I was very pleased to be included in this anthology which was at the forefront of looking at power sharing with the descendants of the makers.  I learned a lot for the writers of the chapters in this book which served me well.  This chapter has been used in many museum studies classes.  A copy is attached.

Museum visitors receive far more from exhibitions than just infor­mation about the objects dis­played. Let me suggest that visi­tors can deduce from their experience what we, the producers of exhibitions, think and feel about them — even if we have not fully articulated those thoughts to ourselves.

I will explore the notion that we, consciously or unconsciously, impose learning impediments in our exhibitions for some members of our current and potential audiences. We do so because we possess unexamined beliefs about our visitors’ capacity to learn and because we want them to act in a style that reinforces our notion of appropri­ate audience behavior”

This is a theme that reappears in many of my papers — that layers of meaning can be deduced by our visitors even though we think they are hidden.