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A select offering of resources developed by SIE staff and colleagues is available below. These resources include in-house documents directly related to the making of exhibitions, as well as research that has been presented at SIE hosted Open Talks.

The Smithsonian Institution’s Guide to Interpretive Writing for Exhibitions


This is also posted on the Undersecretary for Museums & Culture’s Prism page here:


Resources from our presenters at our Open Talk session about AR and VR Technologies on September 25, 2018.

Cody Coltharp, Digital Interactive Designer, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

In the Wright’s First Flight, students learn the basics of engineering a plane through hands-on and online activities, then get a firsthand look at that first flight through an online/VR simulation.


In “Journey Through a Supernova”, students take a 3D exploration through the invisible remnants of the Cassiopeia A supernova, based on real telescopic data and a groundbreaking 3D representation created by a team of astrophysicists, scientists, and data visualizers lead by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Kim Arcand.


Diana Marques, Visual Science Communicator

Published papers about Skin & Bones at

Please check out a full PhD dissertation called “The Visitor Experience Using Augmented Reality On Mobile Devices In Museum Exhibitions”.

A good paper to start, was published at the Exhibition journal and it is called “Reinventing Object Experiences With Technology”.

Sara Snyder, Chief of External Affairs and Digital Strategies, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery

Please check out

Resources from our presenters at our Open Talk session, Picture Perfect: Where Content, Design, and Graphics Intersect on June 20, 2018.

Click to download pdf


Madeline Wan, Senior Exhibit Graphic Designer, Smithsonian Exhibits (SIE)

Please check out

What’s image resolution? The resolution of an image refers to the density of the pixels (or printed dots) that constitute it. The higher the resolution, the crisper the image will be. Those are pixels!

Pixelated is a term used to indicate the degradation of the image. The eye can start to see the individual pixels, and the edges become very jagged.

For professional print graphics, 300dpi is standard. 300 DPI images have 300 dots per square inch.  So, if we have an image that is 300 pixels by 300 pixels — we can print it at 1” × 1” at 300 DPI. If this  is the final output size, we are good to go.

Math! Two things:  1. We’re excited that there’s  a solution, Yay, Math!   2. Math doesn’t have to be a chore. (even though, I personally, am not so great at it.)  Find the overall dimensions of the  image, and then do some math.

On a Mac Right-click (or control-click) on an image. Select “Get Info.” Under the “More info” tab, look for Dimensions. On a PC Right-click on image icon. Select “Properties.” Click the “Summary” tab in the  properties window.

The MATH  So, if you want to print an image that is 3300 × 2550  (listed as Width=3300px, Height=2550px on a PC),  you need to divide each value by 300 to see how many  inches you can print at 300 dpi (high-resolution).  Medium resolution = divide by 150 = print at 150 dpi Low resolution = divide by 72 = print at 72dpi (only acceptable for murals which is viewed from a distance and where details are not important). 3300 ÷ 300 = 11” (width) 2550÷ 300 = 8.5” (height)  So, you could print this 3300px × 300px image at 300 DPI at a size of 11” × 8.5”   Any bigger than this, and you risk the image becoming pixelated. Sure, you can enlarge the image a little bit beyond this size, if you need to, but it’s best if you don’t.