Planning and Design

A clear and orderly planning process is essential to the creation of a successful museum exhibition, whether designing new facilities or renewing older exhibitions. BJA provides its clients with a clear procedural framework specifically designed to work collaboratively with the client and all other stakeholders in the project. BJA’s planning and design services cover Interpretive Planning, Conceptual Narrative Design and Exhibition Design through installation and post-opening follow up and calibration.

We begin by listening to the client and understanding their considerations and aspirations for the project. This includes their vision, goals and needs as well as spatial realities and budgetary parameters.

Only then, do we begin to develop the exhibition’s conceptual narrative which aims to expand the client’s vision and articulate their goals. It is the narrative – the story – that drives the exhibition, that shapes the artifacts that will be used, the images that will be displayed, the media that will be employed and modes of interaction with the audience. In our experience, the storyline should be developed first and only then the building that will contain and house the exhibition. However, we have also worked with architects on predesigned and existing spaces devising the best solutions possible. The aim is for the architecture and the exhibition to join together as a seamless whole, each enhancing the other so that the visitor senses them as one.

Content Development

BJA believes that every project starts with a consideration of content –the story that is to be told and the tools and resources that are required to tell that story. As researchers and historians, BJA employ innovative and current scholarship in all their projects. Our team of scholars are leaders in their respective fields of endeavor, and often we engage additional scholars, thinkers and educators who bring innovative and originative approaches to the subjects at hand.

Our philosophy is that good museums present parallel and multi-layered messages reflecting the complexities of the subject matter in a manner that can be grasped by even casual visitors and offer depth to those more conversant with the material. Exhibitions must be designed with an awareness of

the constant interplay between the visitors and the events presented. They must also avoid trivialization, vulgarization or propaganda. Most importantly, they must avoid simplistic pronouncements, banal and conventional expositions. Often they may probe questions rather than provide answers.

We believe that a Museum must primarily be a storytelling institution. The visitors should be touched by the content they see. Exhibits should be a midwife to information and to conveying emotional content, not an end in itself. For that reason, when we create an exhibition, our goal is to craft holistically integrated exhibits which are the natural outgrowth of the core Conceptual Narrative.

Digital media and Film

BJA creates state of the art digital media installations which buttress the essential concepts of the narrative. This may take many formats- from interactive media, handheld technology and smart technologies. We create the concepts for the media experiences within the project, as well as direct and oversee Art Direction, Storyboard Creation and Scriptwriting, while assuming the role of  executive media producers.  On large scale projects we engage top-tier subcontractors with whom we have years of collaborative experience, or join forces with the media production firm/s that are hired by the client. We also compose and produce

original video content and award winning films. Michael Berenbaum has been involved in the creation of scores of museum film. He was co-producer of One Survivor Remembers was recognized with an Academy Award, an Emmy Award and the Cable Ace Award. He was also the historical consultant on The Shoah Foundation’s Documentary, The Last Days that won an Academy Award for the best feature-length documentary of 1998. He was producer, executive producer, historical consultant, interviewee and writer for dozens of other films, which can be viewed in the Films section.