Become a Curator: Create an Exhibit About You

In this activity, you will become a Curator. Curators work in museums, and one of their jobs is to create exhibits for visitors like you.

You can participate in this activity by reading the instructions below, or, watch this short video on our Youtube channel.

What is a Museum Exhibit?

Museums are wonderful places that collect, care for, and display objects, photographs, documents, and more. We then use the things that we collect and preserve to tell stories about the past. They could be very big stories, like the story of our country, or our town. They could also be smaller stories that talk about just one ordinary person.

To tell these stories, museums create exhibits. Exhibits combine words, pictures, and objects to share a story about the past.

Bonus vocabulary: in museums, the objects that we preserve and share are usually called artifacts. Artifacts are things that were made and used by humans. Artifacts are preserved in a museum not just because they are old, but because they help show how humans lived in the past. They could be from thousands of years ago, or just a few years ago. Some museums also preserve natural history including fossils, rocks, or dinosaur bones.

Create Your Exhibit

If we were going to tell a story about you in the Bulkley Valley Museum, what objects from your bedroom or your house would we display? What photographs would we pick? What words would we use?

Step 1: Brainstorming

  • Pick 5-10 objects you have at home that will tell us something about you. They might be things like:
    • favourite toys, books, or movies
    • photos of you as a baby or little kid
    • photos of your family or friends
    • equipment from a sport that you play, like skates or a soccer ball
    • school work or a project you are proud of
    • art you have done
  • Next, arrange your objects on the floor or a table. While doing this, ask yourself:
    • What order will you want people to see the objects? For example, will your exhibit show a timeline from when you were younger, to the age you are now?
      • Bonus vocabulary: when things are arranged according to when they happened, we call that chronology.
    • Do you want them to see things from when you were younger first? Or will everything be mixed together?
    • What item that will be the very first thing they see in your exhibit? What item will be last?

In this photo, Curator Kira has picked out items from her home: a stuffed animal, skates, a favourite book, a coffee mug that says “Wilfrid Laurier University”, a summer hat, the game Sushi Go, a Christmas movie, and a moose statue. The stuffed animal is supposed to be the first item, and the moose last.

Step 2: Creating Your Labels

Labels help to explain to visitors what the objects in an exhibit are, and why they were picked to be in the exhibit.

Your labels can 1-3 sentences. Your labels should include information about:

  • title or name of the item
  • when it was made or used (if you know). An example could be a trophy – what year did you get the trophy, and what was it for?
  • a description of why the item is important, and why it’s in the exhibit

In this photo, Curator Kira has example labels for her stuffed animal, and the moose statue.

Step 3: Set Up Your Exhibit

Now that you have picked your objects, decided the order, and created your labels, your exhibit is ready to go!

Step 4: Share Your Exhibit

Invite your parents, siblings, or other family to see your exhibit. You can either let them read the labels and ask you questions, or, give them a guided tour and share with them why you picked the objects.

Share your exhibit with the Bulkley Valley Museum!

We want to see your exhibits! Have an adult take a photo of you and your exhibit and send it to the Museum on Facebook, or by email at

Bonus Ideas:

If you enjoyed creating this exhibit about you, think about other stories you could tell. Some other exhibit ideas you can try:

  • Your Collections – do you collect coins? Hockey cards? Rocks? Toys? Create an exhibit with a collection you have
  • Where You Live – tell a story about your town or your neighbourhood? Explore photographs from Smithers and area from the past on our Collections Online website.
  • Your Ancestors – use items from your house to tell a story about your parents, grandparents, or other family
Another BV Museum Hands-On History activity:

Learn how to make and use your own railroad signal lantern! Check out the video on Youtube by clicking here.

Thank you to the Oliver & District Heritage Society for allowing us to adapt their “Build Your Own Exhibit” learning activities. For more at-home exhibit ideas, check out this post from Luci Creative.