Spent a few interesting days with the folks from the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA. We spoke about the kinds of questions visitors have about objects.
Across a few studies now I have found rather consistent questions that keep arising for natural history and anthropological objects.
From natural history specimens people want to know:
From anthropology objects they want to know:
The Harvard MUSE project (Museums United with Schools in Education) suggested a framework for classifying (and therefore writing labels about) artworks which I think translate across a wide range of museums:
While all the above are useful as ways of thinking about placing objects in physical exhibitions, they also have relevance I believe to how a museum might "display" their object online via their websites or through Flickr - perhaps a set of guiding principles??