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.
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.
Back in 2008 we were involved in developing an interactive virtual Hadrian’s Wall for the Great North Museum, an exhibit that allows visitors to create a digital brick to place within the wall. Since Hadrian’s Wall is six metres high in places and over 112km long, that’s a lot of bricks.
When Phil made a follow-up visit recently he felt it was high time he made his own mark, placing the 178,362nd stone in the wall. This stone sits 14.2km along the wall, some impressive progress in terms of visitor engagement but still a long way to go to cross the breadth of the country.
As interactive exhibit software specialists we are well experienced in using client data to create exhibits and using data collected from exhibit use to inform clients’ future decisions. Both are important aspects of developing an effective interactive exhibit.
Where the use of data collection and display becomes even more interesting is when it is part of the experience of using the exhibit, adding a further level of interaction for the visitor.
Building a digital wall
At the Great North Museum, visitors can participate in the creation of an exhibit – a digital version of Hadrian’s Wall. Using an interactive screen they can “carve” their initials and the place they have come from onto a virtual stone which gets placed into the projected wall. On further visits they can seek out their brick and see how much further the wall has developed since that brick was first placed.
Compiling a personal interpretation of exhibits
The Intelligence Centre exhibit at Manchester Art Gallery holds no pre-determined interpretive content. Instead it uses a question and answer technique to enable visitors build a structured personal response to artworks themed on conflict and resolution as well as using collected data to collate trends in responses.
Generating your own results
At Whitehill and Bordon Eco-town’s Eco-station visitors’ own efforts generate the results that are displayed as their activity on an eco-generator bike displays how much hard work it takes to provide energy for everyday requirements such as powering a TV, making eco issues directly relevant to their daily lives.
User-generated data is a great way to ensure that an interactive exhibit becomes directly relevant to each visitor’s experience and helps to keep the exhibit fresh and stimulating over time.
Shrewsbury Flax Mill Maltings is the first iron framed building ever constructed, an internationally important industrial heritage site that is being developed for mixed use with Historic England having secured funding of £2.6m including £1,169,226 from the European Regional Development Fund. The project is being led by Historic England in partnership with the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings and Shropshire Council.
Part of the development will be the conversion of the office and stables for use by the Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings for cultural and heritage interpretation and we will be working with The Workhaus bring the site’s history back to life.
Projected video and ambient audio will set the scene, audio of oral histories will describe life and events on the site, and an interactive touchscreen with a database of text and images will give visitors to the chance select, pan and zoom individual graphics and provide alternative access to displays from the first floor.
We’re delighted to welcome to the team Cheyanne Black who joins us as an intern having recently graduated as a mature student in graphic design from the University of Derby.
Since Chris gives guest lectures at the University, he was in contact with Cheyanne’s tutor who introduced the two as he knew that Wide Sky’s portfolio would be a perfect example to research for her final project, an interactive experience in digital and print formats called Commemoration through Conversation which brings people together to share their stories of war, conflict and human loss. With elements of archiving and education, the project is very much in line with the aims of many of our clients so it made perfect sense to keep in touch throughout the last months of her degree.
Cheyanne’s ability to work with interpretation, archiving and education around themes of war and conflict are informed by time she spent prior to her studies as an army nurse in Hawaii where she was struck by the poignancy of survivors of the Pearl Harbour attack visiting the USS Arizona Memorial, possibly the last that these visitors, now in their 90s, will make. This sensitivity is clearly reflected in her work.
We’re so pleased to have such a talent on the team and have been keeping Cheyanne very busy with modelling, animation and graphic layout for a project interpreting the history of the 13th century church at Bedwas. She is certainly rising to new challenges and we look forward to presenting her with even more!
More congratulations, this time for our client, The London Bridge Experience whose London Tombs has won the 2015 Best Year Round Scare Attraction at this year’s ScareCON event, Europe’s only show dedicated to the growing scare attraction industry.
Congratulations on another well-deserved win.
We worked with The London Bridge Experience to install a photosystem which, as well as generating revenue for the attraction, is also an integral part of the visitor experience.
It’s turning into a month of celebrations for Wide Sky Design’s clients. First we hear about Woodhall Spa’s success in the East Midlands Heritage Awards and now there is more to celebrate as St Martin’s Church win the John Betjeman Award for the sensitive restoration of the unique Evelyn Gibbs murals as part of their Hidden Treasures project. The award is given by SPAB (the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) to celebrate excellence in the conservation and repair of places of worship of any faith.
The judges visited on 28th May and commented that “the project had resulted in a space of beauty and serenity but had clearly been a catalyst for wider benefits”, which exemplifies the aims of the Hidden Treasures project.
The murals depict the Annunciation, the moment the Angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is going to have God’s son. They were completed in 1946 by Evelyn Gibbs, one of the few women war artists, and are believed to be the only surviving examples of her large scale painting. In 1972 the paintings were lost to view when an unsympathetic, modern extension was added to the church and later believed destroyed. They were rediscovered in 2009 when electricians were working in the ceiling. Photographs were taken and shared with English Heritage who got very excited about the find and recommended a conservation report be carried out.
An anonymous donation of £1,000 sparked interest in the possibility of the restoration project and Heritage Lottery funding made it a reality. As well as the paintings, the church has seen repairs and restoration to a blocked up east window and Victorian barrel-vault ceiling, the installation of underfloor heating and a new stone floor laid.
Judges also noted the “commitment to community involvement and education embedded in the project” which is where Wide Sky Design have been delighted to play a part by capturing the restoration works using time lapse photography and developing a tablet tour to help visitors explore significant points around the church and a “pop-up” lectern to take the story of the church out to the wider community.
A tablet tour is a practical way to ensure that visitors can control their own experience of your historic site, museum or gallery at their own pace in a personalised way.
We’ve talked about the benefits of this approach from the client’s point of view when we discussed the tablet tour in comparison to using a Bring Your Own Device approach but what do the visitors think? With help from a team of local students, we’ve put together a video of visitors to St Martin’s Church in Bilborough who talk about how they found the experience of using a tablet tour to explore the church.
Ease of use and accessibility are important to them, as is the fact that it is fun and enhances their visit – exactly what we aim for.
We’re thrilled for the team at Woodhall Spa Cottage Museum, who this month won the award for Customer Care at the second East Midlands Heritage Awards which recognise excellence and innovation at museums across the region.
The award was judged by a team of Mystery Visitors who reported that the Cottage Museum provides a welcoming environment, with staff on hand to help and inform visitors. They observed that the displays are well presented and labelled and a hands on approach is encouraged, allowing the visitor every opportunity to have a really enjoyable experience.
The Cottage Museum was also shortlisted for the Award for Engaging Children and Young People for its Young Person’s Museum Guide and the Wendy Golland Award for Quality Research for its research into the history of The Petwood Gardens.
Museum Chairman, Gill Noble, accepted the Customer Care Award from East Midlands Today presenter, John Homes.
The awards were part of the East Midlands Heritage Conference 2015, held at Nottingham Conference Centre on 9th June and saw a total of 61 entries from 38 different organisations. The event was organised by three key organisations: East Midlands Museums Service, Museum Development East Midlands and Nottingham Trent University, assisted by Culture Syndicates CIC and Anita Hollinshead and generously supported by Barker Langham and David Weight Design & Artwork.