Date of Award

12-2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication

Advisor

Heifferon, Barbara

Committee Member

Fishman , Teddi

Committee Member

Sample , Joe

Abstract

The Charleston Museum has the distinction of being the oldest museum in the United States, founded in 1773 and still operating today. It was begun as a branch of the Charleston Library Society and soon grew to be a significant institution in Southern and American scientific discovery and research. Over the 225 years of its existence, it has amassed an impressive collection of natural history specimens, as well as rare artifacts of Lowcountry history and culture. Unfortunately, the exhibits have been neglected since their most recent installment (roughly 20 years ago) and are in need of visual and ideological revision.
The revision is based on the rich history of the Charleston Museum, several key professional communications and rhetorical theories, and current trends in museum design. Four sections of the main exhibit area are addressed: Colonial, Years Surrounding the Civil War (The South Carolina Lowcountry, Halls I and II), Nature, and The Early Years. Each section is examined using description and images taken in the museum, and applied to the professional communications and rhetorical theories previously discussed.
The result of this examination is a workable set of suggestions which the museum may choose to implement within the exhibit space in order to make it a more inclusive, visually pleasing, and educational exhibit.

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