SUN Miao 孫淼
The Palace Museum
故宮博物院

The Invisible Design of Museum

I spent four months working with my colleagues at the Freer Gallery: (1) attending the weekly meetings of the Department of Design and Production and the Department of Exhibitions as well as all exhibit projects meetings; (2) visiting the collection storage and familiarizing myself with the galleries, as preparation for the design work for which I am responsible; (3) designing for the exhibit projects at the Freer Gallery 13, the Freer Corridor and the Sackler Gallery N8, entitled "Gifts to the Collection: 1987-2012," the last one being the major task in which I fully participated; (4) visiting and interviewing staff members at various departments to better understand the ways in which the Freer and Sackler operates.

The knowledge and skills I garnered during my stay in the US is of immense value to the museums in China. I understood that the design is not just a concept, a piece of paper. In fact, project management, production quality, the idea of public service are the three important factors of museum design. That is called "Invisible Design".

I wish to put them to use in my actual design work at The Palace Museum and to introduce them to other museum professionals in China. In respect to improving the quality of exhibitions at The Palace Museum, I plan to (1) standardize all the colors, fonts, measurements used in The Palace Museum, producing a detailed style guide and document each process of the exhibition; (2) set up an in-house workshop for exhibition construction jobs (mounts, stands, etc.) and a lab for developing technologies catering to the needs of The Palace Museum to solve such issues as lighting and earthquake proofing, so as to better protect the objects; (3) help to shift gradually to a new mode of exhibit projects managing, bringing in persons of various specialties that have been hitherto neglected yet much needed, including exhibition coordinator, graphics designer, writer, and exhibition conservator. I also plan to organize an exhibits group in Beijing. We can have some designers' meetings regularly. The discussion will shared the best practices, good examples, pitfalls to avoid, and remaining questions.