Exhibition checklist

This page is a checklist for important tasks for FOSS@MAGIC community members to follow before a public exhibition or show. On a semester-to-semester basis, this usually means the Maker Faire Rochester and Imagine RIT. Occasionally, it may include a booth at a major computing conference, like OSCON.


Exhibitions, trade shows, and conferences are important opportunities to showcase our community to people outside of RIT. Around the year, students, faculty, and staff are doing cool things with open source. We might be familiar with it being on campus, but sharing our work with others is an important part of getting our work out there to the world. This also provides students a chance to show off some of their work to prospective employers or community leaders.

Therefore, it is important to maintain a respectful and professional attitude for our exhibitions at different events. They are as much a chance to promote FOSS@MAGIC as they are to promote work and efforts by individual members of our community.

Staffing requirements

Minimum two people must staff a booth/table during an exhibition. Three people is recommended and preferred.

Everyone who volunteers to staff a FOSS@MAGIC booth should also have time to go around the conference, go to talks or workshops, and of course use the bathroom. Keeping two to three people at the booth avoids one person taking everyone’s questions and getting exhausted. Be kind to your fellow volunteers and try to be flexible so everyone has a chance to volunteer at the booth, but also experience the event as an attendee too.

Preparation checklist

Sections below are in sequential order.

Publish call for projects on FOSS@MAGIC website

  • What: Make a new announcement on FOSS@MAGIC website to ask community members to submit projects for exhibition (or get help on starting projects)
  • Who: FOSS@MAGIC staff, or student volunteers asked by FOSS@MAGIC staff
  • When: About 4 months before event
  • Where: FOSS@MAGIC website - Announcements
  • Why: Build community interest for upcoming event and support prospective exhibitors in their project work during the semester
  • How: See Website - How to create announcements

Submit event registration

  • What: Submit application form to attend an event/conference as an exhibitioner
  • Who: FOSS@MAGIC staff, or student volunteers asked by FOSS@MAGIC staff
  • When: Typically 3-4 months before event (check event website for deadlines)
  • Where: Event/conference website
  • Why: In order to get a booth to exhibit, we need to apply and pay any fees, if required
  • How:
    • Events we frequently attend have copy+paste text available in FOSS@MAGIC Google Drive
    • However, most info we submit is also found on our public website (see About and Projects)

Add exhibited projects to FOSS@MAGIC website

Any project we exhibit at an event needs a project profile on the FOSS@MAGIC website. See Website - How to add projects for how to do this.

Add event to FOSS@MAGIC website

Any event, conference, or show we attend needs an event profile on the FOSS@MAGIC website. The website does not support recurring events, so each individual event should get its own profile. See Website - How to create event profiles for how to do this.

Pack inventory for exhibition booth

  • What: Pack supplies, hardware, and other inventory for an exhibition booth
  • Who: Booth volunteers
  • When: 1-2 days before event travel
  • Where: In RIT MAGIC Suite / Prof. Stephen Jacob’s office
  • Why: To prepare for the exhibit and test all hardware BEFORE event to avoid on-site problems on event day
  • How: Assemble the following items:
    • Tablecloth (x1)
    • Printed brochures/handouts (as available, ask FOSS@MAGIC contacts for guidance)
    • Laptops (x2)
    • Monitors (x2)
    • USB keyboard (x1)
    • USB mouse (x1)
    • Any physical projects to be exhibited

Inventory tips

  • Hardware like monitors, keyboards, and mice are more useful for events with less travel involved (e.g. Maker Faire Rochester and Imagine RIT). For industry conferences with longer travel and less storage, taking this hardware may be less feasible. For conferences, consider some items above based on need and venue logistics.
  • Exhibit laptops typically need access by whoever is at the booth. Suggest turning off automatic screen-lock or creating a temporary shared password/account.
  • If monitors not available, use laptops for demoing. Note this means many hands on a device, so make sure device owner is okay with this first.

Set up exhibition booth

  • What: Set up inventory and booth for event
  • Who: Booth volunteers
  • When: Day of event
  • Where: Event venue
  • Why: To make an awesome display and get people to ask questions about what we do
  • How:
    1. Spread tablecloth out, if event does not provide one
    2. Set up each laptop with a monitor on opposite ends of table
    3. Display FOSS@MAGIC website on one monitor and other project work on other monitor
    4. Set up hardware projects in center of table
    5. If missing equipment or need supplies from outside the venue, contact FOSS@MAGIC staff immediately
    6. Make loose plans with all volunteers for who will be present at table when, when lunch break is, etc.
    7. Take group photo with all volunteers / staff
    8. Get lunch funds from FOSS@MAGIC staff, if applicable
    9. Go! You got this. Have fun!

../../_images/exhibition-checklist-maker-faire.jpgFOSS@MAGIC and RITlug booth volunteers at Maker Faire Rochester 2018

../../_images/exhibition-checklist-oscon.jpgFOSS@MAGIC booth volunteers at O'Reilly Open Source Convention 2017