Exhibit assignments

The development of an online exhibit as coursework offers students the opportunity to engage with object- and media-centered learning. Exhibits provide authentic learning experiences that can potentially engage with a wide range of audiences. Students explore their subject matter through the curation of images, videos, audio recordings, and objects in a collection, selecting the materials that best tell the story students wish to tell. The process of curating an exhibit gives students opportunities to not only describe objects in detail but also to interpret and contextualize those objects with descriptive writings. Exhibits allow students to creatively express and apply their knowledge within a format that can build upon the rich collections at Princeton and contribute to the University’s intellectual community through a multi-faceted, media-rich project.

Learning goals

  • Exhibits provide opportunities to draw connections between objects and to tell stories through their selections. Students can explore these connections and explain their curatorial choices.
  • Online exhibits offer opportunities to interact with Library and Art Museum staff and with digital materials. Students also gain exposure to professional settings in academia that they might not otherwise interact with in a college course.


  • Exhibits are often designed as group projects. As with all group projects, it is important to communicate how you will evaluate student work. Create a rubric that outlines your assessment goals and consider having students develop a self-reflective document that tracks their contributions and growth.
  • It might be necessary to restrict access to the exhibit due to copyright restrictions. Despite this, expect students to emphasize the importance of the audience and the audience’s prior knowledge.
  • Digitizing materials can be a time-consuming and tedious process. If possible use existing digitized materials such as those found in Princeton’s Digital Repository (DPUL) or on the Princeton University Art Museum website.
  • Many cultural institutions are making their collections available in the IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework). This standard allows, and indeed facilitates, the re-use and collection of existing digitized materials.

Student preparation

Creating an exhibit usually requires an online platform that is specifically suited to the purpose. Some class time dedicated to learning the tool will likely be necessary.

Rubrics and resources