How to…co-create an exhibition with your community

How to…co-create an exhibition with your community

Nina Simon


A step-by-step toolkit written by Lauren Benetua, Nina Simon and Stacie Marie Garcia. Published by Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.

This is the community issue exhibition toolkit. We wrote it for institutions —museums, libraries, cultural centres — that want to host and develop these kinds of projects. Inside, you’ll find templates, checklists, and helpful tips to build a high-impact exhibition on an issue that matters in your community.

There are many ways to make a community issue exhibition that can be scaled to fit your organization’s size, scope, and mission. We wrote this kit assuming you already have a way of developing exhibitions. This kit offers special considerations for creating a community issue exhibition. Adapt this toolkit as you see fit.

A community issue exhibition is:

  1. A PLATFORM for learning and dialogue on an issue of local significance.
  2. A SHOWCASE for art and artifacts exploring the issue.
  3. A CALL TO ACTION to invite visitors to take action on the issue after visiting.
  4. CO-DESIGNED with local partners who are experts in the issue (including the impacted community, service providers, community leaders, artists).
  5. CO-HOSTED with these partners, who help create exhibition-related events, curriculum, dialogue sessions, and community-wide activities.

Download the toolkit

Published by Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial licence. September 2018.

Resource type: Guide/tools | Published: 2019