New project win: Oakham Castle

Oakham Castle horseshoes

Rutland County Council have received £2.2 million funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out extensive restoration work to restore the Great Hall and Castle Walls of Oakham Castle and to improve access to the site. The castle is one of the finest examples of late 12th century domestic architecture in England.

The project will also develop facilities for visitors, increase educational use of the site, and promote the history and heritage of Oakham Castle and Rutland as a whole.

Oakham Castle is particularly well known for the collection of horseshoes in the Great Hall, donated by visiting Peers of the Realm as a traditional way to commemorate their visits. Displayed on the walls of the Great Hall, the horseshoes make an impressive display and we are looking forward to working as part of a team led by heritage consultants, PLB, on an interactive exhibit that will allow today’s visitors to take a closer look at these historic items.

Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Rutland County Council logo

Installing at Shrewsbury Flax Mill

We’ve been busy installing at Shrewsbury Flax Mill, putting in place five different interactive exhibits, bringing together interpretations of the Mill’s role in the industrial revolution and the pioneers who made it happen, including:

  • Details of how flax was processed from the field to the end product, including the wide range of items from ship sails to playing cards.
  • The impact of the building’s revolutionary iron frame on the world of architecture.
  • Details of the mill’s machinery and technology.
  • Working conditions at the mill, including child labour.
  • The change of use from Flaxmill to Maltings and the malting process.

An introductory projection sets the scene, giving visitors a taste of what is to come on their visit. An animated film follows the 200 year history of the building and those who worked there.

Shrewsbury Flax Mill Maltings introductory projection exhibit

Audio is used to provide an ambient soundscape and oral history interactives give voice to the people who worked in the building as a flax mill and later as a maltings.

Shrewsbury Flax Mill Maltings audio exhibit

A touchscreen interactive is an important exhibit to give access to a site which is not easily accessible to everyone in person.

Shrwesbury Flax Mill Maltings touchscreen exhibit

The official opening took place on 24th November 2015 with a ceremonial “cutting of the flax” by Duncan Wilson OBE, Chief Executive of Historic England, the Mayor and Mayoress of Shrewsbury, and Councillor Alan Mosley from Friends of the Flaxmill.

Duncan Wilson, Mayor and Mayoress of Shrewsbury, Councillor Alan Mosley (Friends of the Flaxmill) - symbolic 'cutting of the flax'

ERDF logo

Two awards for Heritage Quay

Great news for our clients at Heritage Quay. They have recently one not one, but two, fantastic awards.

The Royal Historical Society has commended Heritage Quay for its “promotion of public history” in the new Public History Prize Awards which recognise work that enhances public understanding of the place of the past in today’s social, political and cultural life.

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “We are delighted to hear that this wonderful project has received this richly-deserved award. The archive’s range is breathtaking covering not only social, cultural, political and industrial history but also music, the arts and sport, so we welcome this recognition of the sterling work of the project and the University.”

The interactive Gesture Wall which we developed for Heritage Quay was entered for the e-Alan Ball Award made by the CILIP local studies group. Judged to be “a very interesting piece of work and extremely innovative” it didn’t quite fit into the criteria for this new award so we are thrilled to hear that it has been awarded a Special Commendation for Innovation.

Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, said, “A particular honour, I think, that the judges don’t quite know how categorise Heritage Quay.”

We’d like to congratulate the Heritage Quay team on two much deserved awards. Their approach to interpretation within the field of archives has been brave and innovative and it’s great to see this formal recognition matching the enthusiasm that their visitors show.

New Project Win: Daniel Adamson

We’re delighted to be part of the team that will be developing the interpretation project that will run alongside the restoration of the Daniel Adamson, the oldest operational steam tug tender built on Merseyside, and the 15th on the National Register of Historic Vessels.

Daniel Adamson

Having fallen into disrepair, the Daniel Adamson was saved from scrapping by a dedicated team of volunteers, The Daniel Adamson Preservation Society, which has secured £3.8 million of Heritage Lottery Funding for a restoration project will give people the chance to ride on the steam ship and be used by some of the area’s waterside museums as part of a joint education programme to help visitors and school children explore the region’s industrial and maritime history.

We are looking forward to helping to develop and implement some exciting ways of interpreting this historic vessel, making best use of this interesting space to appeal to a range of visitors from school children to maritime enthusiasts. The project is due for delivery in Spring 2016 to we’ll keep you updated on developments between now and then.

Training at St Martin’s Church

Some time ago we installed two time lapse cameras at St Martin’s Church in Bilborough, Nottinghamshire. One captured the restoration of their unique murals over a period of three months; the other captured the life of the church over a year including different ceremonies and special celebrations.

We happy to say we’ve now been carrying out training with some of the project’s volunteers so that they will be able to create their own time lapse films from around 100,000 images that have been taken. Their work will be used to update the tablet tours and mobile kiosk that explain the history and life of the church.

Newhaven Fort project complete

Earlier this year we installed time lapse photography equipment at Newhaven Fort to capture the activities of a resident artist creating a World War II street scene around the theme of VE Day with help from local school children who helped build models to populate the project.

Newhaven Fort project

It’s great to see that the project was a success.

Helping out with hardware at the Royal Chelsea Hospital

The Royal Chelsea Hospital found themselves with a tight deadline to meet, needing some high specification equipment installed to run a film that had been created by ATS Heritage showing life in the newly restored accommodation in the West Wing of the Royal Hospital, a project that, for the first time since its opening in 1692, means that all of the Pensioners will have their own bedroom, study space and en suite shower room facilities.

Royal Chelsea Hospital video

With an official opening looming it was essential that the right equipment was in place in good time. ATS gave us a call and we were happy to help out, sourcing and installing a suitable screen in good time for their deadline.

Take a look at the video here…

New Project Win: Clevedon Pier

Wide Sky Design is one of the partners appointed to provide an interpretation scheme for the Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust, alongside Querceus Design and The Workhaus. This Victorian Pier was described by Sir John Betjemen as “the most beautiful pier in England”.

Clevedon Pier

The scheme will allow visitors to learn more about Clevedon Pier itself, Clevedon town and the ecology of the Severn Estuary. We’re looking forward to this project which will call for a flexible solution to help the Trust to tell a lot of different stories to a varied visitor base in a very small space.

The work is planned to be completed early in 2016 coinciding with the opening of the new Visitor Centre.

St Barrwg’s Church – video preview

We’ve just installed a new interactive touch screen table at St Barrwg’s Church, Bedwas. It explores how the church journeys with you from birth to death, touching on important points in that journey and exploring the different services – christening, baptism, wedding, funeral – that you will encounter living within the church family. It also look at wider ways in which the church supports its members through life.

In this way, it explains to visitors, both members of the church and non-church goers, the purpose behind the ceremonies and services and how there is a reason behind everything that is done.

The look and feel of the interactive has been designed to appeal to a wide audience including families and school children who visit the church.

This project has been developed with support from a £180,000 lottery grant to repair St Barrwg’s church.

Wild Explorers is open at Marwell Zoo

Wild Explorers Marwell Zoo

Marwell Zoo’s new Wild Explorers exhibit opened on 23 July 2015, their biggest exhibit to date.

Wild Explorers gives visitors an immersive experience and views of three precious species that Marwell Zoo is involved in the conservation of: the white rhino, Greyvy’s zebra, and scimitar-horned oryx.

The launch marks a summer of exciting family activities to celebrate the opening of this exhibit which will provide a range of entertaining activities, both indoors and out, focussed on discovery, learning and the natural history of these magnificent creatures.

We have been involved in installing CCTV in the animal’s paddock to ensure that visitors are better able to get a sighting of the animals through live video. We’ve also worked on the “scene setting” part of the exhibit, using a moving head gobo light to create a dappled lighting effect that recreates that of the animals’ natural habitat.

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