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Exhibit vs. Showroom: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 6, 2023
An "exhibit" is a display or presentation of items, often in museums or galleries, while a "showroom" is a dedicated space where products are displayed for sale or demonstration.

Key Differences

"Exhibit" and "showroom" are terms associated with the presentation and display of items, yet they serve distinct purposes and are used in different contexts. An "exhibit" typically refers to a collection or display of items that are showcased for public viewing, often for educational, artistic, or historical purposes. Museums, for instance, house various exhibits that narrate history, showcase art, or explain scientific phenomena.
Conversely, a "showroom" primarily pertains to the commercial realm. It's a space where products, often vehicles, furniture, appliances, or fashion items, are displayed for potential buyers. Showrooms aim to present products in their best light, enticing customers to make a purchase. A car dealership, for instance, has a showroom where various car models are displayed for customers to inspect and test.
The word "exhibit" can also be used more broadly. It might refer to evidence presented in a court of law or any item displayed with intent. However, the term "showroom" remains more specialized, mainly relating to commercial spaces. Moreover, while exhibits tend to provide information and invoke reflection or appreciation, showrooms are more interactive, allowing customers to touch, test, or even purchase the displayed items.
While both "exhibit" and "showroom" denote spaces of display, the environment and intent differ. An exhibit in a museum or gallery might charge an entrance fee, not for purchasing the items but for the experience. In contrast, entering a showroom is generally free because the primary objective is to facilitate a sale.
"Exhibit" also has flexibility in its use, sometimes suggesting a single item within a larger display, while "showroom" refers specifically to the entire space of display. So, while one might say, "That painting is the main exhibit," referring to a singular item, "showroom" would address the entirety of the space where items are presented.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech



Display for public viewing (educational/artistic)
Display products for sale or demonstration

Typical Location

Museums, galleries, fairs
Dealerships, malls, retail spaces


Primarily viewing
Touching, testing, purchasing


Educational, historical, artistic
Commercial, sales

Exhibit and Showroom Definitions


A display or collection presented for public viewing.
The museum's latest exhibit features ancient artifacts.


A place where products are demonstrated or promoted.
The tech company opened a showroom to display its newest gadgets.


An object or set of objects shown in a display.
The art exhibit attracted many visitors.


A room in a business where products are displayed.
The furniture showroom showcased various types of sofas.


Evidence presented in a court of law.
The lawyer presented the letter as an exhibit.


A space where products are displayed for potential buyers.
The car dealership's showroom featured the latest models.


A single item or piece within a larger display.
The crown jewel was the most popular exhibit.


A commercial space intended to entice and facilitate sales.
The showroom was bustling with customers during the sale.


To show outwardly; display
Exhibited pleasure by smiling.


A large shop in which a manufacturer displays their products.
The fashion designer's showroom was located in the heart of the city.


To present for others to see
Rolled up his sleeve to exhibit the scar.


A room in a business set aside for the display of the company's products.


To present in a public exhibition or contest
Exhibited her paintings at a gallery.


(dated) A room or apartment where a show is exhibited.


To give evidence or an instance of; demonstrate
Young musicians eager to exhibit their talent.
A plant that exhibits dimorphism.


To inspect merchandise in a physical store, then purchase the identical product from an online merchant; to use a physical store as a showroom for an online merchant.
This new phone looks good, but I want to go to the mall and showroom it before buying.


To put something on public display.


A room or apartment where a show is exhibited.


A public showing; an exhibition
Spent the afternoon at the art exhibit.


A room where merchandise is exposed for sale, or where samples are displayed.


Something exhibited
Each exhibit in the show took hours to assemble.


An area where merchandise (such as cars) can be displayed;
In England a showroom is called a salesroom


(Law) Something marked for identification with the purpose of being introduced as evidence
Referred to Exhibit A.


(Informal) Something used as an example, as when arguing or making a point
You never do your chores—Exhibit A.


(transitive) To display or show (something) for others to see, especially at an exhibition or contest.
He wanted to exhibit his baseball cards.


(transitive) To demonstrate.
The players exhibited great skill.


To submit (a physical object) to a court as evidence.
I now exhibit this bloody hammer.


(intransitive) To put on a public display.
Will you be exhibiting this year?


(medicine) To administer as a remedy.
To exhibit calomel


An instance of exhibiting.


That which is exhibited.


A public showing; an exhibition.
The museum's new exhibit is drawing quite a crowd.


(legal) An article formally introduced as evidence in a court.
Exhibit A is this photograph of the corpse.


To hold forth or present to view; to produce publicly, for inspection; to show, especially in order to attract notice to what is interesting; to display; as, to exhibit commodities in a warehouse, a picture in a gallery.
Exhibiting a miserable example of the weakness of mind and body.


To submit, as a document, to a court or officer, in course of proceedings; also, to present or offer officially or in legal form; to bring, as a charge.
He suffered his attorney-general to exhibit a charge of high treason against the earl.


To administer as a remedy; as, to exhibit calomel.


Any article, or collection of articles, displayed to view, as in an industrial exhibition; a display; as, this exhibit was marked A; the English exhibit.


A document produced and identified in court for future use as evidence.


An object or statement produced before a court of law and referred to while giving evidence


Something shown to the public;
The museum had many exhibits of oriental art


Show an attribute, property, knowledge, or skill;
He exhibits a great talent


To show, make visible or apparent;
The Metropolitan Museum is exhibiting Goya's works this month
Why don't you show your nice legs and wear shorter skirts?
National leaders will have to display the highest skills of statesmanship


Show or demonstrate something to an interested audience;
She shows her dogs frequently
We will demo the new software in Washington


Walk ostentatiously;
She parades her new husband around town


A representation or demonstration of a particular activity.
The science fair had an exhibit on solar energy.


Can an "exhibit" be for sale?

Typically, exhibits are for display only, but some exhibits, like art galleries, may sell pieces.

Can a museum have a showroom?

Uncommonly, but a museum gift shop or special section could function similarly.

Can "exhibit" be a verb?

Yes, it can mean "to display" or "to show."

Are showrooms exclusive to cars?

No, showrooms can display various products, from furniture to electronics.

Is every item in a museum an exhibit?

Not always. Some items might be part of a larger exhibit.

Are showrooms always about sales?

Primarily, but they can also be for product demonstrations without direct sales.

Can a showroom be online?

Yes, virtual showrooms exist, especially in e-commerce.

How is an "exhibit" different from a "display"?

An exhibit is often more curated and informative, while a display can be more general.

Is a showroom always inside a shop?

Not always. It can be a standalone space or within a larger store.

Is an "exhibition" the same as an "exhibit"?

An exhibition is a larger event or display, while an exhibit can be a single display within it.

Do showrooms have to be physical spaces?

Traditionally, yes, but digital or virtual showrooms are now common.

What might be exhibited in a zoo?

Animals, with each enclosure acting as an exhibit.

Can a showroom be temporary?

Yes, pop-up showrooms are temporary displays in various venues.

Can a single artwork be called an exhibit?

Yes, especially if it's a notable piece within a larger display.

Are all showrooms open to the public?

Mostly, but some might be by appointment only.

Which is more commercial, "exhibit" or "showroom"?

Showroom has a more commercial connotation.

Can an "exhibit" be interactive?

Yes, especially in modern museums or science centers.

Do showrooms offer products at discounted rates?

Not necessarily, but some might have special offers.

Can a house be a showroom?

Yes, model homes in housing developments act as showrooms.

Is a trade fair booth an exhibit?

Yes, it's a type of exhibit showcasing products or services.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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