The definition ‘exhibition’ is a generic and vague term and in the museum context it can mean anything from a 10 square metre, six panel graphic display to a 1000 square metre, object rich, interactive exhibition, or an atmospheric and immersive experience containing no collection items at all.  Ten types of exhibitions are identified in this investigation which considers a range of museum exhibition design strategies and examines a variety of interpretive and communication philosophies. In the more complex examples presented the possibility of the museum’s relationship with the visitor being realised through design is considered. The comments of seven recognised designers, three practicing in Australia and four practicing in the UK are included in this illustrated presentation. 

About the Presenter

Tom is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers (UK) and a Member of the Design Institute of Australia.  His PhD thesis, completed early in 2016 was entitled ‘The role of design in the development of museum exhibitions in Australia’.

His past design projects include the Pacific Islands exhibit at the Commonwealth Institute, London; Hellfire Pass Museum, Thailand; Al Shaqab Museum Qatar; the International Antarctic Centre at Christchurch Airport, New Zealand; the Pylon Lookout and Harbour Bridge Museum, Sydney, NSW; the Bradman Cricket Museum, Bowral, NSW; the RAAF Museum, Point Cook, Victoria; Sandakan Memorial and Interpretive Centre, North Borneo, and four major galleries at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. ‘Blockbuster’ touring exhibitions include Gold of the Pharaohs and Gold and Civilisation.  
One of his major projects, The Wellington Museum was included in the Times of London’s Top 50 World Museums list in 2013. In 2008 the Design Institute of Australia inducted him into the Australian Designers Hall of Fame.

About Critical Approaches to Museums and Heritage

Critical Approaches to Museums & Heritage is a series of seminars where researchers and practitioners introduce recent work to a critical thinking audience. All are welcome to attend.


Level 1, Michie Building (#09), St Lucia campus
Anthropology Museum