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Using Omeka exhibits for student assignments

What is an Omeka exhibit?

An Omeka exhibit is a collection of images, usually though not always linked by a common theme, that can include explanatory text for each image or only for the collection as a whole.

What is an exhibit good for?

Putting together an exhibit is a great way to get students to critically analyze images. Example student projects

How do I create an Omeka exhibit?

Setting up an account, logging in, and navigating to the exhibit creation page

  1. Set up an account on www.omeka.net and send an email to Karil Kucera at kucera@stolaf.edu. She will send you an invitation to join the IDEAS site as a contributor. Once she invites you, click on the link in the confirmation email and you will be added to the site as a contributor. You can create and modify your own exhibits, but you won’t be able to modify other people’s exhibits.
  2. Go to https://ideasasia.omeka.net/admin/users/login. Type in username and password. If you don't remember your password, go to www.omeka.net, enter your username, click on the log in button, and on the next screen, click the "forgot your password" link.
  3. Once you are logged in, you will be taken to the dashboard page for IDEAS. You can choose to view the site or manage the site. Click on the “manage site” link.

Exhibit creation

If you followed the directions above, you should now have at the bottom of your page a link that says “create an exhibit.” Click it.

Enter an exhibit title, an “exhibit slug” (this will form part of the web address for your exhibit), and a description of your exhibit. You can also choose a theme and enter tags for your exhibit, but in this tutorial, we won’t be doing that. Once you have filled in the exhibit metadata, save your changes by clicking on the green “save changes” button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Next we will create sections and pages for this exhibit.

Sections and pages

Every exhibit needs at least one section, but can have multiple. As an example of what sections could be, the geology of Japan exhibit is divided into three sections – an introductory essay, landscapes of Japan, and environmental implications of Japan’s geology. If you decide at a later time that you want to add a section, you can. Decide on what you want your section title to be, then click on the Add Section button at the bottom left hand corner of your screen.

You need to type in a section title, section slug, section description, and then add pages to your section.


Each section contains as many separate pages as you want to add. My Japanese meals section contains four pages – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bento box. You can have one or multiple images on each page of your exhibit.

You need to give your page a title and a page slug, and select a layout for it. Click save changes once you have filled in this information.

Adding information to exhibit pages

Once you have selected your page layout, you can put information into it. Click on the “attach an item” button and then “show search form” link to search for an image in the database. I am searching for Pocky, a type of Japanese candy. I must click on the Pocky image I want to use, then click “attach selected item.” I can then add a caption labeling the item and a full description of it. I can add up to eight images in this layout. I will add only two. When I am finished adding items, I will scroll to the bottom of the page and choose “Save and return to section.” If I had another page in mind to create, I could also choose “Save and add another page.”

Viewing your completed exhibit

In the upper right hand corner of your screen, you should see a button that says, “View public site. You can also type in http://ideasasia.omeka.net into the address bar of your web browser. Once there, click on the “browse exhibits” link.

Then click on the exhibit you wish to view. Finished exhibits look very different from how they do when you are putting them together, so I recommend previewing your exhibit after you have added a couple of pages to make sure that you are happy with it. If you don’t like how it looks, you will need to change the theme.