Exhibition Catalogue Essay Assignment


After a curatorial tour of an exhibition using Rose Library materials, students will compose an essay suitable for inclusion in the exhibition catalogue. There are two options for this assignment:

  • Option 1: Each student will independently compose an essay about an object on display as if it will be included in the exhibition catalogue, Instructors may either 1) require student essays to fit the tone and style of the existing catalogue; or 2) allow students to identify and write to a different audience than the existing catalogue, making style and tone choices based on that.
  • Option 2: The students in the class will collaborate to create a class exhibition catalogue. Each student will be responsible for one essay to include in their catalogue. The class will work together to determine style, audience, tone, and other editorial considerations.

    After this assignment students will be able to

    • conduct additional research into topics and materials used in the exhibition
    • engage in critical thinking about the construction of exhibitions
    • use creative and critical thinking in a curatorial capacity
    • identify a significant audience for the exhibition, writing essays with that audience in mind
    • identify and utilize genre conventions for writing catalogue essays

    In order to make the most of your time during your Rose Library Session, please be sure to prepare your students in advance.

    • Prior to the session, students should understand what they are looking for while visiting the exhibition
    • Students should have a clear sense of what they need to know about an object to complete the assignment successfully

    Here’s what you can expect during your class session:

    • The curatorial tour should be done during a class session
    • The instructor may choose to have another curatorial session focussed on the composition of an exhibition catalogue

    Option 1
    Students will produce an essay of approximately 1,000 words.

    Option 2
    The class will produce an exhibition catalogue for which each student will provide an essay, the length, style, and tone of which will be determined collaboratively by the class.

    Relevant collections will vary depending on current Rose Library exhibitions. Please consult with Rose Library staff to determine how our materials can best serve your course goals.

    To cite this page:

    Early, Shanna. "Exhibition Catalogue Essay Assignment," Rose Library Teaching with Archives Portal, [date of access], http://rose.library.emory.edu/instruction/portal/assignments/exh-catalog-essay.html.

    Please cite this portal and give credit to the creator when using this assignment.


    Shanna Early
    PhD Candidate in the Department of English at Emory

    Used In
    This assignment was created for this portal.

    Adaptable for any class for which a current exhibition is relevant. History, literature, and composition classes will be most likely candidates.

    Course Materials