Exhibit Travel - FAQ
How have others figured out the logistics of hosting the exhibit? Who was involved, what did it take?
This requires a team effort. One host site brought the exhibit through their “Veteran-Centered Care Committee,” which was particularly effective because the VCCC there comprises a range of expertise. People to consider: VISN or facility Interior Designer; Voluntary Services Coordinator; Patient-Centered Care Coordinator; OEF/OIF social worker or program manager; Art Therapist; member(s) of Veteran Advisory Board; etc. In general, you will need people with time and skills to help with:
- Logistics (coordinating acquisition and return of exhibit)
- Interior design (the location and how it is hung are key aspects)
- Event planning and publicity
- Developing promotional materials
- Outreach to staff, veterans, and local community
What costs are involved?
There is no lending fee for the exhibit. The main costs are:
- Transportation/shipping of exhibit: The cost of transporting the exhibit varies depending on several factors (the number of pieces, the mode of transportation, how the shipper packages the pieces, distance, etc.). For VA hosts, the most cost-effective option is to use the government lading process. This process is something every VA should already be using to transport items valued over $ 250.00. Gather the required information for VA Form 134a (Request for Freight Transportation and Logistics Services) and contact your local Logistics Chief (aka Acquisitions and Logistics – title varies). Typically, Logistics submits this type of request to VATLC in Washington, DC.
Good contact at VATLC: Chris Matos, Traffic Management Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-202-461-5502 - very helpful, will provide quote over the phone or else send it by email.
- Materials for hanging the exhibit (assuming full exhibit hung using Command strips): ~ $165
- Printing of promotional materials
- Travel costs for Project Director if invited as guest speaker (airfare, lodging, per diem)
How have others covered these costs?
Other VAMCs have been successful in accessing funds through the Director’s office, Logistics, and/or a research office or center that is interested in supporting the exhibit (e.g., local or VISN Patient-Centered Care office, MIRECC, COIN, etc.).
Where/in what kinds of spaces have others installed the exhibit?
Some have hung the pieces along the main halls of their Primary Care and Women’s Health Clinic area, while other facilities have installed the exhibit in a main lobby or other central areas; others have used more traditional gallery spaces when those are available onsite. As noted, having someone with interior design expertise on the team will be very helpful.
What about fire safety?
According to the Fire Safety Guidebook published by VHA Center for Engineering & Occupational Safety and Health (CEOSH), “Combustible decorations, such as photographs, paintings, and other art, that are attached directly to the walls … are permitted” as long as
(1) decorations do not exceed 20 percent of the wall, ceiling, and door areas inside any room or space that is not sprinkler-protected
(2) decorations do not exceed 30 percent of the wall, ceiling, and door areas inside any room or space that is sprinkler-protected throughout.
What about privacy concerns for Veterans who contributed their stories and photos to the exhibit?
Each Veteran who contributed photos and stories to the project had final say over whether to use their real, full name or a pseudonym, initials, etc. They also had final say over whether to contribute a self-portrait of other photo that shows potentially identifiable faces, and over which of their photos and stories would be included in the exhibit. The original research project that led to the exhibit was reviewed and approved by the Philadelphia VAMC IRB. Each Veteran completed a written informed consent, a HIPAA Authorization, and VA Form 10 3203 Consent for Use of Pictures and Voice.
What is involved in hanging the exhibit? How many people, how much time?
It's best to have a team of people helping; one host reported that it took 2 ½ hours for a team of six to unwrap, order, and hang the entire exhibit. This includes
- Unpacking, taking inventory
- Determining order
- Determining placement
- Hanging (using Command Strips or picture hooks/string)
How have others publicized and promoted the exhibit?
- Inform local and VISN Public Affairs Officers
- Contact local news
- Reach out to local veteran service organizations and veteran groups
- Announce at Morning Meeting, encourage managers to promote staff attendance
- Promotional materials: postcards, flyers, Facebook, website, internal newsletters, etc. (We can share samples of promotional materials with you and provide guidance on design/layout.)
What kind of opening events have other hosts planned around the exhibit?
In general, the main components have included:
- exhibit viewing;
- brief remarks by key supporters (e.g., head of Veterans Advisory Council, facility leadership, etc.);
- some form of discussion forum that creates dialog between Veterans, staff, leadership, and community members (we can send prompts if you like) – one or more events.
It helps to give people a chance to see the exhibit first; this could be anywhere from a few hours to a few days before the formal event, and/or you could have more than one event spaced out over several days/weeks.
If you can, identify some key speakers to participate in a panel. For example, Veterans who serve on your local Veterans Advisory Board, MH Council, or similar group – you could ask them to view the exhibit and reflect on what resonates for them. You might also consider representatives from specific services, local VSOs, and/or leadership, if they are supportive. If local colleges have a Student Veteran Center, you might reach out to them, as well.
In terms of timing, we recommend sending out invitations at least 1 month in advance.