New Project Win: Amersham Museum

We’re pleased to be part of the team that will be reimagining Amersham Museum, an independent museum in a listed mediaeval building which is now developing into a larger, more accessible museum.

amersham-museum

It’s great to be collaborating again with Querceus who are currently working on the design for this new project. We’re looking forward to becoming further involved as it progresses as this is another project where we can use technology creatively to make the most of an interesting historical space.

The creative ideas are looking really exciting and we’ll keep you up-to-date with developments that will be interpreting the development of Amersham as a market town, the history of its transport from coaching inns to the railway, its history of protest and dissent, local industry, and housing and domestic life in the town.

Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Upgrades at Glen Finglas

In 2014 we developed and installed a multi-touch screen at the Woodland Trust’s new visitor centre at Glen Finglas in the Trossachs National Park.

Glenfinglas touchscreen exhibit map

The screen features a map of the park and we have just upgraded the software to include 360 degree panoramic photography for twelve points on the map that offer particularly stunning views.

The photography features each location in summer, autumn and winter so that visitors can immerse themselves in the landscape, experiencing it as if they were there, at any time of year they choose.

Glenfinglas winter

Glenfinglas spring

Turnkey solutions for your interactive exhibits

Increasingly, we are being asked to provide an integrated turnkey service for clients that includes hardware specification, software design, producing audio visual and film content, and installation on site. It’s a service that means your interactive exhibits will be ready to go with no hassle.

There are a number of advantages to a turnkey service:

  • Single point of contact: you can reduce the overhead and communication challenges of managing multiple contractors.
  • Economy of scale: you can achieve a cost benefit through shared meetings and overheads.
  • Integrated systems: by developing all aspects of the project side by side we can deliver the most efficient, effective and robust solutions.
  • Content management: one easy-to-use content management system can serve multiple exhibits and be added to and updated to suit your needs.
  • Longevity: a single source warranty and maintenance service for all components of the project makes ongoing maintenance and support more streamlined and easy to manage.

Read more about project that we have provided a turnkey solution for:

Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall

Heritage Quay

The Cutty Sark

Caerphilly Castle

Wardown Park Museum

York Castle

Amersham Museum

Glenfinglas

Fire Aware for Moors for the Future

Heritage Lottery Fund applications

Heritage Lottery Fund applicationMany of the projects that we work on are supported by Heritage Lottery Funding and often we are involved at the earliest stages to help put together a persuasive application with specifications for both hardware and software that will help to make any project a success.

In its guidance the Heritage Lottery Fund states, “In assessing applications, we take account of outcomes for heritage, people and communities that projects will achieve” and we believe that including specialists in hardware and software in the team at application stage can help to meet those outcomes.

Typically, our role would include developing a design document which specifies:

  • All the interactive exhibits,
  • Their locations within a site and any constraints that these might impose,
  • The necessary hardware taking into account any particular needs determined by the nature of the location such as robustness, being water resistant or any M&E constraints,
  • Full costings.

Detailed specifications will meet the varied requirements of a project including:

  • Being sympathetic to the creative and general design approach of the exhibition.
  • Meeting specific educational and interpretive objectives and testing against them throughout the design process to ensure that they are educationally sound and will remain relevant for future visitors.
  • Being designed in accordance with accessibility guidelines and with DDA compliance as well as with general accessibility for the widest possible audience in mind.
  • Being designed for robustness and longevity using commercially proven delivery platforms wherever possible to mitigate the risk of equipment failure and reduce maintenance costs.

By working closely with a team of architects, lighting specialists, exhibition designers, interpreters and curatorial staff we can comprehensively specify complete systems that can be installed and implemented on a turnkey basis. This thorough approach means that, not only does the client have a robust funding application, the end result for their project is one that will meet all their objectives from both interpretive and practical perspectives.

Award success for Heritage Quay

We’re thrilled to hear that our friends at Heritage Quay are celebrating winning the Buildings that Inspire category in this year’s Guardian Higher Education Awards.

Heritage Quay Buildings that Inspire

Heritage Quay houses University of Huddersfield’s Archives and Special Collections, made up of around 120 separate collections reflecting the history of Huddersfield and the surrounding area and are of local, national and international significance. We were involved in the project, developing an interactive Gesture Wall which provides and immersive experience for a wide range of visitors, as well as multi-touch tables which allow deeper exploration of archive themes.

The award recognises Heritage Quay as an interdisciplinary space that engages visitors from the under 5s to the over 90s through exhibitions and events, as well as providing learning, teaching and social space for students and staff at the University.

Sarah Wickham, University Archivist and Records Manager, said,

“Wide Sky were a key partner in shaping and delivering our inspiring building.  Their multimedia design has been crucial to underpinning what we can do in the facility – thank you team!”

It was a terrific project to be involved with and it has been great to see Heritage Quay going from strength to strength since opening in 2014. Congratulations on this well-deserved award.

The Daniel Adamson – interpretation in a working vessel

We’re enjoying the challenge of using technology to interpret the history of this unique and historic vessel, one of only two surviving tug tenders in the UK and the only surviving steam powered tug tender. Working with Querceus Design and The Workhaus we’ve come up with some creative ways to make the very most of this unusual space.

Daniel Adamson in dry dock

As a working vessel it presents a number of health and safety issues and its size and shape mean that there is limited opportunity to use traditional interpretation methods.

Daniel Adamson health and safety

With the restoration of a stunning art deco lounge being part of the project, there have also been limitations on how much fixed technology we can use.

Daniel Adamson lounge restoration

We’ve found the answer to these challenges in the use of mobile tablets and integrating atmospheric exhibits into the infrastructure. These include evocative audio and recreating the ghost of a barman in the lounge who will relate stories from the Daniel Adamson’s varied history.

An unusual space can present challenges but it also provides interesting opportunities to work with the space creatively to develop approaches to interpretation that are very personal to the location.

On a practical note, we have chosen hardware that will stand up to the rigours of a marine environment in the form of IP rated marine grade screens that will cope with the inevitable demands of high moisture levels and wide-ranging temperatures.

It’s good to see the Daniel Adamson out of dry dock now and back into its normal working life.

Clevedon Pier – atmospheric and immersive experiences

This Victorian pier was described by Sir John Betjemen as “the most beautiful pier in England” and is the country’s only Grade I listed pier. We are working alongside Querceus Design and The Workhaus to provide an interpretation scheme for the Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust.

Clevedon Pier

The overall interpretation will cover the history of the pier and the long-running campaign for its restoration, its place within the wider Clevedon area and role in making the town a holiday makers’ destination, and the ecology of the Severn estuary.

Our work will be focused on the new visitor centre in the Toll House at the near end of the pier where we will be maximising the available exhibition space using a combination of ambient soundscapes, audiovisual and themed interactives to give a feel of the life of the pier and surrounding area. An interactive exhibit will also show real time shipping information from the Bristol Channel.

Clevedon Pier Toll House

We will be using our database system to manage images from the history of the pier and creating a “Gesture Wall” to create an immersive experience from this archive material.

Visitors will also be able to get a sense of the great storm which had such an impact on the area as the storm is recreated within a small turret, once a spiral staircase, at the side of the Toll House.

Clevedon Pier tower

New project win: York Castle

A new exhibit at York Castle called Shaping the Body, looking at how culture, food, health and lifestyle have changed the way we look over the last 500 years, will open in March 2016, thanks to grant funding of £200,000 from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Wolfson Foundation.

Using York Museum Trust’s extensive collections of costume, social history, archaeology and art, the exhibition will look at how our bodies have been shaped and designed through choices we make and the consequences of our lifestyles.

We will be developing a number of audio visual and interactive exhibits to help visitors explore how what is judged to be the perfect height and weight have fluctuated in different periods, and how economic circumstances and cultural ideas impact on fashion.

New project win: Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall, Stratford

Stratford-upon-Avon’s 15th Century Guildhall is currently undergoing major restoration and conservation work and will be opening as a heritage and visitor attraction in April 2016, to coincide with the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Home to a series of extremely rare medieval wall paintings, showing the seal of the Guild of the Holy Cross, the building is one of only a dozen surviving examples of a late medieval provincial Guildhall.

Stratford Guildhall schoolroom

The new heritage centre will provide the missing chapter of the story of William Shakespeare’s life in Stratford: his education and his inspiration to act and write.

Working with Imagemakers, we will be developing tablet and touchscreen interactives telling the history of the building and Stratford’s civic history as well as that of the young Shakespeare. Based on our content management system, the exhibits will be easily updated by the staff.

New project win: Wardown Park Museum

Luton’s Wardown Park Museum has been awarded £1.8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to conserve the building and transform the way its story is told.

wardown park museum

The work will open up new areas of the building – originally designed as a private residence – and will give visitors an insight into a wealthy family home during the Victorian period.

The project lends itself perfectly to a tablet tour, an approach that we are finding is increasingly popular with clients and we’re looking forward to working with Imagemakers to help bring the history of the museum building and its exhibits to life.

Read more how other clients have used our tablet tours…

The Master’s House, Ledbury

St Martin’s Church, Bilborough

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