Educators Smithsonian Education

The Exhibit, the Object, and You!
A Discussion Guide for Students

Before Viewing
Based on the title or images you have seen, such as brochures and posters, discuss the following questions:

What do you think the exhibit is about?
What do you already know about this topic?
What questions do you have about it?

While Viewing
Think about the space, colors, labels and how things are arranged.

What do you think the exhibit is about?
What makes you think so?
Do the labels with large type help you to understand the story outline or main ideas? If so, how?
Walk through a second time, carefully examining the objects that interest you. Go back to your favorite object in the exhibit. Write about it, prepare to tell someone about it, or draw it.
Why do you think this object is in the exhibit?
Does the object help to explain the larger story?

After Viewing
Compare what you thought the exhibit was about with what you discovered. Discuss the following questions:

Did the exhibit answer your questions?
What are the main ideas?
How was the exhibit organized?
Which objects did you find most interesting and why?
Where could you go to learn more about this topic?
Ask students to share their drawings or descriptions of an object: Why did you select this object?
Does it illustrate a larger theme or story? If so, how?
Do objects help us to better understand a topic?
If you could choose only one object to represent the exhibit, which one would it be?

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