Can a museum exhibition multi-task? Yes. A new special exhibition at the International Olympic Museum called “Swing !” shows how. First, the program introduces the sport of golf and its brief history at the Olympic Games. Second, it serves as a foundation for a public relations campaign about the return of golf as an Olympic sports in 2016 at the next Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In addition, it shows how to design a travelling exhibition that can be shipped in a single container and installed in just one day.
Golf has so many facets that the Golf Channel can cover the subject 24/7. So this exhibition focuses on the most relevant facet, the links between golf and Olympic traditions. This theme celebrates the universality of golf as a sport played the world over by men and women who share a passion for the sport. The review of golf at the Olympics is simple. Golf appeared on the Olympic program for the first time in 1900 in Paris and exited the program after a single encore at the 1904 Olympics in Saint Louis. Golf’s history as a sport that promotes innovation fits well with the permanent collection at the Olympic museum and is illustrated with course designs and historic artifacts.
This historical perspective is a good introduction for the return of golf to the Olympics in 2016. Large format reproductions of the landscape architecture drawings by Hanse Golf Course Design of Malvern, Pennsylvania are accented by aerial photos of the tropical seaside setting south of Rio de Janeiro. This preview makes Olympic Golf look like a must see event.
“Swing !” is also a good example of ways to construct a travelling exhibition on a modest budget. The format displays two container sized canvas panels on both sides of a hand trolley. The panels are separated by thematic artificial turf used at miniature golf courses. The panels can be rolled like canvas sails and the trolleys can be stacked and placed at the bottom of the container. That leaves plenty of room for the historic golf clubs and balsa wood hazards that complete the physical exhibit. A video documentary that fits on a single DVD does the rest.
“Swing !” opened December 9 at the International Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland and will continue through January 30. If you would like to see it closer to you, take a minute to contact the International Golf Federation and propose a travelling exhibition at a local museum or golf club.