Exhibit vs. exhibition

The difference between exhibit and exhibition is a matter of scale. An exhibit is a public showing of an object—usually a work of art or an object meant to educate—or a small collection of objects. An exhibition is a public showing of a large selection of such items, often united by a theme. For example, a fossilized dinosaur skeleton in the lobby of a museum is an exhibit, and a collection of dinosaur skeletons in a wing of the museum might be called an exhibition.

Of course, exhibit and exhibition have other definitions, but the others aren’t as easily confused as these.

Examples

Meanwhile, visitors could view a temporary exhibit inside a metal shed. [Boston Globe]

The brilliant Bruce Conner is among the triumvirate of subversive postwar American artists … celebrated in this exhibition for their poetic use of trash, ephemera, and junk. [Guardian]

Special exhibits—of paintings, drawings, photographs—can be found in galleries and museums throughout its 13-mile length. [National Post]

Loder said he was happy to amend his collection to protect the other designers in his emerging designers exhibition. [Herald Sun]

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