Exhibitions and Design: A Perspective on the Project of Museum Display

Francesca Lanz, Jacopo Leveratto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, we bring museum display into sharp focus through the lens of exhibition design, meaning those aspects of the project of a museum primarily related to the setup of its display in the museum spaces. The chapter works through the discussion of two key theoretical monographs on the subject, namely Mostrare: L’Allestimento in Italia dagli Anni Venti agli Anni Ottanta [trans: Exhibiting: Exhibition Design in Italy from the Twenties to the Eighties] by Sergio Polano (1988) and Narrative Spaces: On the Art of Exhibiting by Herman Kossmann (2012). They serve as emblematic examples of two different ways of understanding display through interior architecture and exhibition design, setting the ground for our argument about the critical autonomy of exhibition design as a designerly interpretive act within the museum. While acknowledging the nowadays widely recognized important role of interior architecture and exhibition design in determining not only how a display looks and feels but also what it means, this chapter discusses the relationship between the curatorial project of museum display and its exhibition design. In doing so, this chapter provides the reader with stimuli and suggestions from the field of exhibition design that may be useful for developing a more sophisticated and nuanced analysis of displays that is able to account for the key role of the designer as a critical thinker.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVisiting the Art Museum
Subtitle of host publicationA Journey Toward Participation
EditorsEleonora Redaelli
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783031120893
ISBN (Print)9783031120886, 9783031120916
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2023

Publication series

NameSociology of the Arts
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2569-1414
ISSN (Electronic)2569-1406

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