Family Learning Forum

A Project of the USS Constitution Museum

Multi-sided Will Take Up More Space
But That’s OK!

by USS Constitution Museum Team

Families are significantly more likely to have conversations around multi-sided exhibits than they are near single sided exhibits.

Multi-sided exhibits take up a larger footprint, a challenge in galleries with less space. The benefit is changing how visitors, especially groups of visitors, use your museum.

  • Creating an exhibit element that is three or four sided reduces available wall space, but it’s worth it!
  • Conversations will increase if the family can experience the exhibit element together.
  • Families are more likely to use and enjoy multi-sided exhibits.

The Cost

A multi-sided 4x2 foot table coming out from the wall requires 80 square feet of precious exhibit space. In comparison, 80 square feet along a 4 foot wide hallway provides 40 linear feet of wall space, enough to address a lot of content in words and images.

The Benefits

Multi-sided exhibits facilitate social interaction among visitors that exhibit material on the wall can not as easily accomplish. Putting visitors around an exhibit where they can see and talk to each other promotes conversations and joint observations. When we track family behavior on the gallery floor and categorized where families spend time and where they talk to each other, multi-sided exhibits are hot spots of activity, and, hopefully, learning.