Story 02: Education of a Dropout

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Sidebar: My First Exhibit

Written by Mike Spock

When the tiny exhibit finally opened I was disappointed that I never saw anyone looking at my finished work until Reverend Crawford, the museum's janitor, pointed out that it was just that no one wanted to be caught looking at the exhibit. His evidence was that he had been kept busy cleaning off fingerprints and oily nose smudges from the glass. Not only my first exhibit, but it was my first experience with what the visitor studies field eventually came to call an unobtrusive measure of its drawing power.

At the Dayton Museum of Natural History, Director Joe Koestner left us pretty much on our own to conceive, research, design, label, and install exhibits. Without formal training we were challenged to discover and invent ways of getting things done. What a way to learn! In my initial Co-op period I worked on a small exhibit on human reproduction—an uncomfortable theme for those innocent days. Koestner took the reasonable precaution to get the Miami Valley Medical Society to bless the plan.

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