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The Exhibit Develops: March 10, 1978

Written by Jeri Robinson

A decision had to be made about what the vacation week Before You Were Three exhibit would be like. Jonathan, our public relations person, had a winter newsletter deadline to meet and needed information to print. I called a meeting with Janet, Elaine, and Robie to discuss which of our proposed ideas could actually happen. Elaine was unable to attend but Janet stated that Elaine would have to live with our decisions since she knew time was running out. Janet listened to our suggestions, gave us an idea of what she thought D&P would be able to accomplish, and helped us write a description for Jonathan that she thought we could deliver. Janet planned to alert staff to our needs at her D&P meeting the next afternoon and arrange a meeting with them about our plans.

By this time I was feeling divided. I didn't want to stay locked into using just Before You Were Three information in my proposed exhibit on child development but I felt unable to communicate that to Robie. We had come a long way taking things for granted lacking a process to make decisions. Initially we were doing a promotion for the book and of course wanted to use the information in it. Although I thought the book was good, I didn't want to feel limited by only considering its approach to development. I had been honest in the beginning, saying I was interested in incorporating some of the ideas from the book into an exhibit, but now it seemed this was going to be that exhibit.

If what we were working on was to be considered a true exhibit, many things were lacking. My understanding of exhibit development involved a considerable amount of planning, perhaps with an advisory group, and including an actual budget and written job descriptions for everyone. None of these things had been included in the original Before You Were Three plans. I had worked on the project as part of my "Wharf time" time allocation and was the only museum staff person on the project. As the weekend program turned into a week-long exhibit, other staff were drawn into the project.

Next: March 14, 1978