Assign roles

Undertaking a Small Object Big Story project requires a lot of team work. Assign the roles below to group members. 

Exhibition coordinator

Coordinators in museums ensure that projects run well, and are completed on time. They have an overview of how things are progressing, and facilitate communication. The project leader or participant who takes the role of exhibition coordinator has the following responsibilities:

  • create a timeline for the development stages of the exhibition and ensure that the team is up-to-date with the timeline
  • remain updated on the progress of team members
  • report on the team’s progress regularly
  • organise the team evaluation
  • assist other team members as required


Publicists make sure that the general public is aware that a special event is on. Participants who take the role of publicist have the following responsibilities:

  • use the library and Internet, and interview relevant people to research ways exhibitions and museums are promoted
  • brainstorm ways to publicise the project, including a guest speaker and media coverage
  • promote the project within the community to ensure that all areas are covered. For example, web sites, blogs, twitter, posters, school newsletters, local newspapers, local historical society news, radio interviews
  • develop an invitation list of people to invite to the exhibition launch
  • brainstorm a list of other people/groups who could be invited to view the exhibition, for example other classes or community groups
  • complete invitation letters
  • organise the launch, including timing, speeches, catering and video content
  • assist other team members as required


Designers work in many ways throughout museums, creating engaging visual elements. When assisting with the planning of an exhibition, they prepare graphic panels and a floor plan, look after showcases, and determine the dressing of exhibits and the display of objects.

Participants who take the role of designer will:

  • design the exhibition layout
  • complete a project log regularly
  • create attractive graphics (photographs, sketches, paintings, etc) for the team’s objects, for exhibition and publicity purposes
  • design how objects will be displayed in the exhibition
  • brainstorm and find dressing for the display of the objects, e.g. a map or photographs of the people objects belong to
  • work with other designers to decide a style for the display labels. Decide page style, page layout, font, heading styles and size
  • photograph objects for an exhibition catalogue (if objects cannot be photographed, work out how they can be included)
  • photograph team either individually or together for team outline page
  • format exhibition label text supplied by group members for their objects
  • arrange the display of objects for exhibition
  • assist other team members as required


Curators in an exhibition planning team are responsible for the development of the content. This includes writing the storyline and text for labels and panels, and researching and selecting objects. There can be several curators involved in planning an exhibition – each with their own specialist area of knowledge.

Participants who take the role of curator will:

  • consult with subject specialists, community groups and organisations, and other information providers
  • research background information about the subject area of the exhibition, and develop a storyline for the exhibition
  • determine which objects will be displayed and how they will be displayed, and write the text for the exhibition

Audience advocate

The audience advocate in an exhibition development team researches the intended audiences for the exhibition and ensures that the exhibition caters for the interests, needs and expectations of audiences.

The participant who takes the role of audience advocate will:

  • ensure that spatial, learning and interpretive approaches in the exhibition are appropriate for the various audiences, including special needs audiences
  • become familiar with how learning takes place in informal environments, and with this in mind, pay attention to the content and interpretive approaches of the exhibition
  • play a leading role in planning the display of objects, editing the text, and developing interactives and multimedia

Public programs officer

A public programs officer in a museum contributes to the identification of intended audiences for the exhibition. They plan and deliver programs for those audiences to complement the exhibition.

The participant who takes the role of public programs officer will:

  • assist with the planning of the exhibition, paying special attention to how the objects and text enhance audience experiences
  • develop and/or deliver several programs to complement the exhibition. For example, they could organise a talk by an ‘expert’ or develop a ‘discovery’ table for small children

Other roles

Image researchers look for the best available photographs, illustrations and multimedia. They check copyright and permissions with owners, and prepare the images for use in the exhibition. They also ensure that multimedia captions and image labels are correct.

Conservators prepare objects for display and ensure that they are properly protected and maintained. They also supervise de-installation – the careful removal of objects at the end of the exhibition and packing for return to their owners.

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