Interpretive Planning • Exhibit Design
Design Division, Inc. 42 West Street Hadley MA 01035 413 549 0510
Client: Emily Dickinson Museum
The main goals of the exhibition were to be explaining the posthumous publication of Emily Dickinson’s poetry and exploring the struggles and triumphs of friends and family to publish her poetry. The museum had settled on the idea of organizing the exhibition around the desks of three main characters in the story: Emily Dickinson, Mabel Todd (family friend), and Martha Dickinson Bianchi (Emily’s niece). The challenge remained to conceptually and graphically present the complexities of the story in the modest gallery space and within the budget. Setting the stage for the drama that unfolded, “The Player’s Wall,” a panoramic centerpiece exhibit, introduces all of the players visually, biographically, and through the employ of their own words. Through the use of display cases with their front surfaces sheathed in full sized images of the original historic desks of Dickinson, Todd, and Bianchi, visitors encounter the contents of each desktop and the accompanying story without the distraction of an actual desk. Populated with personal possessions and related artifacts, each desktop offers an intimate and rare glimpse into the lives of the original owners at the time of the poems’ publication.