There are common scenarios that trigger emotions to rise during museum exhibit projects. Emotions rise because these situations usually cost more money. In our world that can mean eliminating something else. You can imagine the emotional response to not getting everything you wanted. It’s tricky. We have seen these situations repeatedly. Being prepared for this may help you eliminate an emotional event in your project.
- Make Sure Your Site is Ready Prior to Exhibit Installation
It seems no matter how often we remind, ask or even request pictures of the site prior to installation often construction isn’t complete when we arrive. This month we showed up for an install and there was no electricity to the exhibits. This now requires a second trip, maneuvering of schedules and more money. Lack of site readiness cost money.
- Make Sure Measurements Are Accurate
Measure twice, cut once the saying goes. Exhibits are often in production at the same time a building is in construction or a gallery is being renovated. This sometimes makes it impossible to take site measurements. We have to rely on architectural drawings or clients sending us site measurements. Often these are wrong. If the exhibits or graphics don’t fit they will have to be reworked. Rework costs money.
- Hit Your Contract Dates
Often input is needed from you to allow fabrication of exhibits to progress. If this information isn’t timely and the end date cannot move this will usually cost more money. It will mean we have to rush fabrication which often includes overtime pay or hiring more help. Delays cost money.
- Consider the Level of Detail Required
If an object is only seen from ten feet away it requires less detail than close up. Sometimes adding detail doesn’t enhance the visitor experience. We often have biologists, paleontologists, ornithologists and the like as part of the team. Accuracy is important, yet if the bird is up in a tree do we really need to measure the beak with calipers? Level of detail comes with different levels of cost.
- Changes in Project Scope Cannot be Donations
When issues like the above arise we are often asked to donate our extra costs for the good of the project. We’ve even been asked to pay to play, come to our fundraising dinner or else kind of stuff – yikes! We are passionate about what our clients stand for and do, but we cannot do free work and stay in business.
There’s an old saying of cheap, fast and quality – pick two. Decisions have to be made that balance all. Budget, size and level of interactivity can be part of that balance too. Here’s some help on setting your budget and a DIY budgeting tool.
“Everyone asks for a strong project manger – when they get one, they don’t want one.”
“Anything that can be changed will be changed until there is no time left to change anything.”