Lesson Four: Building Museum Displays

By: Leah Judd

Leah Judd

Education Collaborator

Leah Judd has a passion for teaching Social Studies.  Working in Sechelt, BC, Leah has been lucky to work with students who embrace inquiry learning and created locker museum displays during the pandemic to share their curated stories with the school community.  Leah shares her enthusiasm for Social Studies as editor of Salon, an online quarterly publication from the Social Studies Educators Network of Canada @ssencressc

Suggested Subject Areas

Social Studies

Grade Level

Adaptable across 9-12 / Sec I-V


2 x 60-75 minutes


Students will look at different styles of museum displays to think about how they would like to display their artifacts.  This may also be limited by the location of group displays—will they be in the classroom, library, hallway, on tables, mounted on walls? Students will also have time to finish artifact collection/creation, label writing, and building their group museum displays.

Lesson Outline 


Show students the images below, depicting a variety of museum display styles. Engage in a conversation (with elbow partners, small groups, whole class—whatever works best for you) about the styles represented. What stands out as unique, compelling, visually striking, clear? What similarities and differences exist between them? How might the content of the exhibit help guide decision making about displays? How might they incorporate their takeaways from this conversation into their group displays?

Le Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, France. The paintings have been hung using the horizon line in each landscape as the common level across photos. Photo by Leah Judd.
Artifacts left in the Titan Missile, Titan Missile Museum in Arizona. Photo by Leah Judd.
Le Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, France. Photo by Leah Judd.
Vertical walk through exhibit at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Photo by Leah Judd.
Review Peer Feedback & Assessment Rubric

Hand out or display the rubric included below. Discuss with students the central column for meeting the expectations (“Meets”), and what it might mean to extend beyond those expectations, or to display a more limited or emerging understanding of those expectations. Explain that these rubrics will be used for students to assess and provide feedback on each other’s displays during the final class period. The teacher will not be assessing group projects using this same rubric, as it does not leave space to recognize the work of individual students.**

As groups go back to work, they can think about these expectations while they complete all the elements of their museum display.

If students want to shift wording in the expectations or add or remove expectations, that is up to the teacher’s discretion.

Alternatively, the teacher or class can design a peer assessment rubric from scratch.


**Note: this unit plan does not include a final individual student assessment. If the teacher wants to assess each student individually, they could, for example:

Group Work

For the rest of this period and for an entire additional period, students should work in groups to complete all remaining steps of building their museum displays. This might include:

Keep in mind that students might need support in locating resources such as sticky tack, string, scissors, glue, thumb tacks, tape, backdrop cloths, tables, etc. The teacher should be prepared in advance to support student needs during the final work period.