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Visitors at a presentation
Heiligengeistfeld in Hamburg 1863: International agricultural exhibition

An exhibition (also an exposition ) is a permanent or temporary public presentation in which exhibition objects ( exhibits ) are shown to an audience . There is a distinction on the one hand between art exhibitions and scientifically oriented exhibitions, which convey knowledge by means of the exhibits, and on the other hand commercially oriented exhibitions of the economy , at which products and services are presented in order to stimulate trade with these offers.

Exhibitions in the fields of art and science

Exhibition types

The permanent exhibitions include collections that are permanently on display , for example from museums . An exhibition that is limited in subject and time is called a special exhibition ; if this is rebuilt at another location after dismantling, it is called a traveling exhibition . If an artist exhibits his own paintings in a commercially oriented gallery , the exhibition is also known as an accrochage (French for "suspension").

There are no limits to the variety of exhibits. A distinction can be made, for example, according to topics:

Depending on the type of exhibition, any suitable private or public space can serve as the venue. Typical exhibition locations include museums, art halls , galleries, exhibition halls and exhibition palaces , libraries, town halls and churches.

Exhibition design

The design work is divided into the uniform layout (see corporate design ) of the print media for public relations (catalog, poster, folder, invitation card, etc.) and the scenography . Important elements of the exhibition design are the rooms themselves, the object and department signage, the partition and partition walls, the lighting and the showcases .

Miniature models of the exhibition rooms are often used as a design aid, on which the positioning of the scaled-down exhibition pieces can be visually verified. Visualization by rendering exhibition views is also not uncommon.

The Max Ernst Museum in Brühl broke new ground with the design of the exhibition THE WORLD OF TIM BURTON (2015), which it organized in collaboration with curator Jenny He and Tim Burton Productions. The cross-continental design work was carried out using a virtual exhibition planner. In a 3D real-time model of the museum building, the exhibits could be positioned at the same time via internet connection and the design checked sensually. In addition, the software enables lists with the positions of the exhibits to be exported for easier hanging in the real museum.

Interactive exhibitions

An interactive exhibit to illustrate the Internet

At the end of the 20th century, the format of the interactive exhibition (also: hands-on exhibition or experience exhibition) developed. This type of exhibition can be found, for example, in children's museums , fields of experience and science centers and aims to encourage visitors to interact with the exhibits and with each other . In this way, complex topics can be conveyed in a clear and entertaining way.

While objects collected in classic exhibitions, for example from the fields of art and science, are exhibited, interactive exhibitions are made up of exhibits that are specially developed and produced for the purpose of experience-oriented communication .

Virtual exhibitions

In the age of modern online media, so-called virtual exhibitions are also becoming increasingly established, in which the exhibits are prepared in digital form for viewing on the screen. Visiting a fixed location is no longer necessary; instead, the exhibits can be viewed regardless of time and location. Editorial texts and a wide range of multimedia offers (picture galleries, video and audio clips, flip catalogs, etc.) take the place of traditional information on display boards and showcases. In addition, interactive offers such as bilingual versions, barrier-free additional data, zoom functionality or a virtual guest book etc. are often available.

As a prototype, the German National Library (DNB) initiated several virtual exhibitions on different aspects of its collection from 2013:

  • “Künste im Exil”, published on September 18, 2013, is an Internet portal about artists who fled into exile for political reasons. The exhibition, which is supervised by the German Exile Archive 1933–1945 of the DNB, is intended to bring together archived documents on emigration and exile worldwide and thus make them available to interested parties. The focus will initially be on the period from 1933 to 1945 and later also include emigration from the GDR and communist Eastern Europe.
  • The second virtual exhibition “Signs - Books - Networks: From Cuneiform to Binary Code”, published on May 18, 2014, is a media history offering from the German Museum of Books and Writing of the DNB. In various themed modules, it tells cultural history from the perspective of writing and books through to the digital world of the Internet, spanning a time span from early history to the present day.
  • In June 2014, under the title “100 Years of the First World War”, a virtual exhibition based on the DNB's own World War II collection went online. It is intended to make media history in connection with the war tangible. There is a strong reference to the Deutsche Bücherei, its collecting and exhibition activities as well as individual media genres and media works.

Business exhibitions

An exhibition in this sense is, according to the German trade regulations, "a time-limited event at which a large number of exhibitors exhibit and sell a representative offer from one or more branches of industry or economic areas or provide information about this offer for the purpose of sales promotion". At such exhibitions, products and services for sale from industry or certain trades are presented. If the event takes place at regular intervals, it is called a fair .

Trade Regulations

According to the legal definition of § 65 GewO , an exhibition as a subspecies of the market trade is a time-limited event at which a large number of exhibitors exhibits and sells a representative offer from one or more branches of industry or economic areas or provides information about this offer for the purpose of sales promotion . At the request of the organizer an exhibition according to § 65 GewO, in conjunction with § 69 GewO set are. This must be requested from the local regulatory or trade office . The documents to be submitted are an application, information on the exhibition, a site plan, a provisional list of exhibitors, an extract from the central trade register and a certificate of good conduct for submission to an authority. The determination is subject to a fee. On the basis of a decision , the provider enjoys market freedom .

See also


  • Philipp Aumann, Frank Duerr: Make exhibitions . 2nd Edition. UTB Verlag, Stuttgart 2014 (2013), ISBN 978-3-8252-4193-3 .
  • Claudia Fröhlich, Harald Schmid , Birgit Schwelling (Eds.): Yearbook for Politics and History , Vol. 4: Exhibiting History, Stuttgart 2013
  • Susanne Gesser, Martin Handschin, Angela Jannelli, Sibylle Lichtensteiger (eds.): The participatory museum. Between participation and user-generated content. New requirements for cultural-historical exhibitions (transcript culture and museum management). Transcript, Bielefeld 2012, ISBN 978-3-8376-1726-9 .
  • Exhibition construction. In: Ernst Seidl (Hrsg.): Lexicon of building types. Functions and forms of architecture. Philipp Reclam jun., Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 978-3-15-010572-6 .
  • Lambert Wiesing : The showing of pictures: the lifting of the picture in the museum . In: Lambert Wiesing: Let see. The practice of showing . 2nd Edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2013, ISBN 978-3-518-29646-2 , Chapter 4. pp. 180-191.
  • Jeannette Merker, Riklef Rambow (Ed.): Architecture as an exhibit - discussions about exhibiting . JOVIS Verlag, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-86859-386-0
  • Beatrice Jaschke, Charlotte Martinz-Turek, Nora Sternfeld : Who is speaking? Authority and authorship in exhibitions (= exhibition theory & practice. Vol. 1). Published by Schnittpunkt. Turia + Kant, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-85132-418-8 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Exhibition  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Exhibitions  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Exhibition  - Sources and Full Texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Philipp Aumann, Frank Duerr: Make exhibitions . UTB Verlag, 2013, 18.
  2. See Duden Online: Exhibition
  3. VEE, for Virtual Exhibition Editor
  4. Kirsten Marijke Brodel: Museum Education in Children's Museums and Youth Museums: Origin, Legitimation and Current Situation . Diplomica Verlag, 2006.
  5. ^ Exhibit Making. In: Exploratorium. Retrieved November 25, 2015 .
  6. kuenste-im-exil.de
  7. mediengeschichte.dnb.de
  8. erster-weltkrieg.dnb.de
  9. § 65 of the GewO
  10. § 64 of the GewO
  11. Full text of the trade regulations - PDF file, accessed on November 9, 2018