Creating Web Exhibitions: Behind the Making of “Student Protests at NMU”

It’s been four months since NMU Archives unveiled our web exhibit detailing student protests at NMU in the 1960s and 1970s. This exhibition site was created by researching and browsing through a large volume of information, and in order for this information to be easily read by you, the viewers, we had to organize our information in a certain way. Not only did we research the documents you can find in our exhibit, we also had to research what aspects of a web exhibit make it successful.

Screenshot (2)

Creating a Winning Online Exhibition: A Guide for Libraries, Archives, and Museums by Martin R. Kalfatovic became our go-to source of information when designing the layout and organization of our site. Kalfatovic pulls from Wendy Thomas and Danielle Boily’s Visual Exhibition Production: A Reference Guide, to list the following elements for a “good online exhibition,” which include:

  •   Providing an opportunity to visit [the] exhibitions more than once
  •   Allowing for surprise and wonder, and promoting dreaming and creation
  •   Giving an overall impression of the site on the home page
  •   Updating the site on a regular basis to attract visitors to keep them coming back
  •   Using source material provided by the medium to enhance the meaning
  •   Displaying images that can be used on the Internet
  •   Designing a project like a research tool
  •   Providing access to normally inaccessible documents
  •   Ensuring research projects have international dissemination
  •   Hooking visitors by making browsing pleasant
  •   Touching users’ emotions

It is our hope that our Student Protest Exhibit shows that we took all of these pointers and more into careful consideration. Through our navigation available on each page, we allow visitors to browse information through a chronological narrative via ‘timeline’ or more directly through ‘research by person’ and ‘research by topic’ (still being developed). Our ‘photo and audio album’ provides source content itself. Our sources and photographs utilize the format of the web, and are viewable in the browser. Our design choices are meant to evoke nostalgia for the time, as well as a sense of rebellion without losing sophistication.

We invite you to continue browsing our website exhibition, and thank you for the support and interest we have already seen. If you ever want to provide us with feedback, email us at

Written by Kelley Kanon


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