Prepare Exhibit Proposal and Budget

Curate a Local Peace Corps Exhibit

Why host a local Peace Corps Exhibit? Local exhibits help Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) inform their communities about their personal volunteer experiences. Exhibits increase the visibility of Peace Corps ideals, promote community service, and provide a framework for discussing anti-racism and cross-cultural understanding at home and abroad. Local exhibits are opportunities to engage the community through educational programming and fundraising events. Furthermore, planning an exhibit stimulates participation by group members who will be involved in selecting suitable venues and collecting objects and stories to share with the public.

The Museum of the Peace Corps Experience has compiled a toolkit to support RPCVs and National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) affiliate groups in producing local Peace Corps exhibits. The toolkit includes sections on identifying the group’s goals for the exhibit and the target audience, preparing the exhibit proposal and budget, researching venues, collecting objects, publicizing, installing, and finally, evaluating the exhibit’s success. Below you’ll
find a guide for the first step: Prepare Exhibit Proposal and Budget. This section details the central items a group should discuss when preparing to host an exhibit. We offer a sample proposal and budget template for reference.

If you would like the full exhibit toolkit, please contact our exhibits team at A member of our team will reach out with a pdf of the comprehensive exhibit toolkit and provide a point of contact with the Museum as you move forward in your planning.


The exhibit team should begin by drafting an exhibit proposal that includes a budget for two important reasons:

  1. The proposal is a written plan that sets clear expectations for the exhibit team, outlines the project objectives, and maps out the sequence of tasks needed for a timely exhibit installation.
  2. The proposal illustrates the vision for the exhibit, so it may be used as a tool to solicit exhibit partners and sponsors.

Questions to spur the development of the exhibit proposal:

  • What is the mission of the host group? How will this exhibit further the host group’s mission? How do the group’s goals for the exhibit reflect the values of the Peace Corps, National Peace Corps Association, or Museum of the Peace Corps Experience?
  • How will the group collect three-dimensional objects that fit the chosen theme or tell a particular story? Where will these objects be stored before and after the exhibit? Who will receive the lent objects and who will return them to their
  • What is the “best” (i.e., available, centrally located, appropriate size) venue for the exhibit? Is there a backup location that would be equally suitable?
  • What measurable objectives should be achieved by the exhibit? For example:
    • the number of objects to display;
    • potential size of audiences;
    • efficient use of identified funds;
    • Number of local RPCVs engaged in preparing the exhibit;
    • Amount of revenue sought in support of various causes.
  • How will the exhibit be publicized? Which news outlets or publications will require advanced notice? What will maximize public attention—the exhibit design or location, a sponsor’s reputation, objects or stories selected, or events held at the same time?
  • How will the exhibit inspire viewers? Will they receive clear messages about cultural awareness, unity, humanitarian service, or other broad themes that resonate with viewers and arouse their curiosity?


3. Keep in mind that the proposal is a living document. The group does not need every detail finalized in order to begin planning the exhibit. That being said, the more specifics discussed and resolved at the start, the less confusion and time wasted later. Strike a healthy balance for the group!


Although most local exhibits have modest budgets, planners are strongly encouraged to start by writing a budget, even a simple one. Begin with the income section, which includes available funds or funds that can be raised.
▪ What funds from the group’s reserve will be allocated to the exhibit?
▪ If additional funds are needed, how will the group raise those funds? Will each group member offer a donation towards the cause?
▪ What is the group’s fundraising goal and timeline?
▪ Are there professional services the group may acquire on a pro bono basis? For example, a graphic designer, curator, writer, editor, or publicist? (Don’t forget to call upon the hidden talents of group members!)
▪ What supplies or services might be contributed by a company directly or paid for by a donor?

Most groups rely heavily on in-kind contributions and volunteers. Volunteer service may be recorded in hours and reported as an example of service to the community.

In the proposal example attached, we have provided a sample budget to guide the group in calculating income and projected expenses. It is important to share the expense projections with each member of the exhibit planning team, as well as sponsors, and interested members. This will serve as a financial roadmap as the group proceeds with exhibit planning.

Every exhibit is different, and few exhibits have expenses in all the categories listed. However, it is best to expect and plan for contingencies.

Exhibit Proposal (sample)

This proposal was developed by Museum of the Peace Corps Experience to provide an example of a planning team’s proposed local exhibit.

Title: Peace Corps Fashion Exhibit
Dates: Summer or Fall of 2022
Location: ArtBloom Gallery in City, State


This exhibit commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Peace Corps, founded by President John F. Kennedy with Executive Order 10924, signed on March 1, 1961. The Peace Corps was authorized by Public Law 87-293, signed by President Kennedy on September 22, 1961. As of March 2020, more than 240,000 individuals have served as volunteers in 143 countries.

Group of RPCVs (GROUP) proposes to partner with ArtBloom Gallery to present an exhibit of clothing that volunteers wore during their service. The clothes represent textiles and patterns from the volunteers’ countries of service and showcase a variety of fashions from everyday clothing to formal wear. To the extent possible, each article of clothing will be displayed with a photo of the volunteer wearing it and a story/explanation of the purpose of the article from the volunteer.


This exhibit will feature 20 – 30 articles of clothing from regions where Peace Corps volunteers served. The purpose of the exhibit is to foster cultural understanding while meeting the following goals and objectives.


  1. Deepen and broaden the visitors’ understanding of Peace Corps and the regions in which volunteers serve.
  2. Educate visitors about the connection between Peace Corps volunteers and their communities as experienced through textiles and fashion


  1. Install a physical exhibit at ArtBloom Gallery in City, State
  2. Host an opening day celebration
  3. Plan supplemental events to encourage engagement, such as a gallery talk with RPCVs, panel discussion featuring Fashion Design professors from the Local School of Art & Design, and a documentary screening (film TBD).


1. Metro and local art community
2. Art patrons
3. Students
4. Statewide and regional Peace Corps community


1. ArtBloom Gallery: Dr. Smith and ArtBloom staff
2. Representative(s) of Museum of the Peace Corps Experience team including local members
3. Local School of Art and Design, School of Fashion
4. Country specific RPCV groups and other interested/related parties
5. Archivist, Peace Corps Community Archives, American University Library, Washington, DC


We will announce a “call for clothes” with the goal of encouraging submissions by former Peace Corps
volunteers and staff who may have, in their personal collection, clothing from their years and countries
of service. Clothes will be lent for the duration of the exhibit. The length of the exhibit is to be
determined and in-person viewing will be offered as health conditions allow.


Educational materials will be developed by local volunteers and may include short videos and photos of
the volunteers wearing their clothes during their service. The videos will be utilized on the GROUP
website and social media channels to promote the exhibition.
ArtBloom and GROUP will produce a small brochure. The brochure will include a brief history of each
region’s fashions and their represented clothes. The curator will write an introductory essay.


April 1, 2021 Seek appropriate venue for exhibit installation, including site visit(s)
Week of April 11 Determine exhibit site
May 1 Exhibition announcement & Call for Clothes
June 1 Call for Clothes reminder
July 1 Final Call for Clothes reminder
July 6 Deadline to receive clothes
By July 15 Organize submissions
By July 18 First round clothing review
August 1 Second site visit
August 15 Gather text and images of clothes for publications
September 1 Final clothing review and selection
September 1 Select and purchase mannequins and other display materials
September 7 Connect video producer with selection of clothing donors
September 16 Share text and images of all clothes with graphic designer
September 21 Finalize program for opening night and contact any speakers
September 21 First look at short videos
September 22 Draft press release and share with ArtBloom team for review and distribution
September 23 First review of publication
September 28 Final review of publication
September 30 Second look at short videos
September 30 Receive delivery of mannequins and other display materials
October 3 Print publication
October 3 & 4 Final video edits
October 5-15 Incorporate videos into social media posts announcing the exhibit
October 5-15 Installation
October 15 Exhibit Opening Event


1. ArtBloom Gallery will curate the exhibit, produce a publication, and share exhibit details
with local news media and calendar listings
2. GROUP will promote the exhibit on its website, through emails to members, and via social
media: Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
3. Museum of Peace Corps Experience will promote the exhibit on its website and social media


1. ArtBloom gallery will provide space and staff support at no cost.
2. GROUP collects clothes and provides them to curator.
3. GROUP has applied for the Local Stories Through Fashion grant.
4. GROUP and ArtBloom will seek local sponsors.


In-Kind Services:
• ArtBloom Gallery space and staff
• ArtBloom Gallery audio visual equipment for events
• MPCE marketing and promotion

GROUP Administrative Costs:

• Art installation supplies
• Mannequins, shadow boxes, busts, etc.
• Catering costs associated with events
Contracted Services: