Girlhood (It's Complicated)

 

 CLIENT Smithsonian, National Museum of American History

LOCATION Washington, DC 

 

 

This exhibit celebrates the ways that girls and young women have shaped the political, economic, and cultural life of our nation. Through a dynamic mix of rarely displayed artifacts, girls’ own perspectives, pop culture icons, and custom artwork, the show amplifies the voices of too-often-overlooked young individuals.

The design is structured on girls' magazines, with sections like News and Politics, Fashion, Wellness, Work, and Education. Each section is surrounded by larger-than-life custom murals announcing exhibit content and themes. Inside, interactivity, media, artifacts, and biographies show girls’ role in shaping America. Between exhibit sections, “avenues” offer clear views to other sections, enabling visitors to flow organically through the space. Graphics, inspired by girls' self-published zines, are enhanced by collage effects, infographics, layering, and hand-written curators' notes that draw visitors' eyes to important details.

After three years at NMAH in Washington, DC, the exhibit will travel—in its entirety—to venues nationwide via the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit Service. The modular design fluidly adapts to a range of possible site conditions while maintaining the finesse and impact of a permanent Smithsonian exhibit. The physical exhibit components are standardized for ease of travel, installation, and reconfiguration in any venue's particular spatial needs.