Exhibit Tips

Creating Exhibit Entries

Exhibits are designed to display visual and written information on topics in an attractive and easily understood manner. They are similar to exhibits found in a museum. People walking by should be attracted to an exhibit's main idea and therefore stop to learn more about the topic. To be successful, an exhibit must create an effective balance between visual interest and historical explanation.

The most common form of exhibit entry is a three-panel display. This style is the least complicated to design and build and is a very effective way to present information

Here are some tips for this style:

  • Be sure the title is the main focus of the center panel.
  • Use the center panel to present the main ideas.
  • The side panels are best used either to compare issues about the topic or to explain related detail.
  • Artifacts or other materials may also be placed on the table between the side panels.


Labels used for the title and main ideas are very important because they direct the viewer's eye around the exhibit. One way to make labels stand out is to have the writing on a light-colored piece of paper with a darker background behind it. This can be done with construction paper, tag board, or mat board. Dark black lettering makes labels easier to read. Photographs and written materials also stand out more if they are placed on backgrounds.

Exhibit Design

A successful exhibit must be able to explain itself - do not rely on your interview with the judges to explain your points. It is important to design an exhibit so that the photographs, written materials and illustrations are easy to understand.

It is tempting to put as much on the panel boards as possible, but this makes for a cluttered and confusing display. Students should select only the most important items for their exhibit boards. Clarity and organization are the most important goals for an exhibit design.