Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Share-focused exhibitions: takeaways

In this step, let's take a moment to revisit what we've learned from two exhibitions.

In this section, we have explored exhibitions focused on sharing, using “Eight Perspectives on Reading Objects” and “Where the Rabbits Are” as examples.

“Eight Perspectives on Reading Objects” was the first exhibition KeMCo attempted within the framework of sharing. It was successful in creating a festive atmosphere where items were brought to an akichi like a festival. In “Where the Rabbits Are”, this festivity was carried over into a New Year’s exhibition, further enhanced by the easily relatable theme of the chinese zodiac sign “rabbit”.

In this step, let’s take a moment to revisit what we’ve learned from these exhibitions.

Setting a broad theme

By having a broad and approachable theme, for example “rabbit”, it becomes easier for the members of communities to decide on what to showcase. Moreover, due to the expansive nature of the theme, the borrowing process is different. In typical exhibitions, the organizers specify objects to exhibit. Here instead, communities think about and select objects to be displayed. This selection process can be seen as a shared curation of the exhibition, deepening the involvement of communities. If people see the exhibition as their own space, they are more inclined to bring objects that they consider valuable. It provides an opportunity for sharing objects that are interesting but rarely showcased to the outside world.

Exhibition theme as a backdrop

What was striking about the two exhibitions was that conversations evolved around individual objects, rather than the overarching theme. The exhibition functioned as a place where people could show their objects to each other, and where people and the collections could interact. This was realized by the extensive theme coupled with a diverse range of exhibited objects. The objects lined up at the venue are not uniform in a good sense, and are not overly consistent with the theme. Objects stood out in their individuality, sparking curiosity about their origins and purpose. In other words, as the exhibition theme receded into the background, the communities to which the items belong became more prominent.


By creating an environment where individual objects take center stage over the exhibition’s theme, it’s possible to visualize the communities these objects belong to, making it easier to share and exhibit objects. This is the insight KeMCo gained from the “Eight Perspectives on Reading Objects” and “Where the Rabbits Are” exhibitions.
How can we create and enhance an environment where individual objects take centre stage rather than the theme of the exhibition? And how can visitors be involved in an exhibition with such intensions?

Please share your ideas in the next step!

This article is from the free online

Akichi in Collections Management: Perspectives from a Japanese University Museum

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now