Cutty Sark Trust

Cutty Sark Audiovisual and Interactives

Software and hardware design specification

Wide Sky Design were part of the original design team for the temporary and permanent exhibitions for the Cutty Sark. Working closely with the whole design team – the architect, lighting specialists, exhibition designers, interpretation professionals and curatorial staff – we specified complete systems – software and hardware – that met the interpretive objectives of the project and could be installed on a turnkey basis.

The interpretive strategy was to create:

  • A sense of wonderment – through the creation of a number of key audiovisual and interactive ‘events’ dispersed throughout the exhibition, delivering a ‘wow’ factor and creating talking points to ensure that the Cutty Sark Exhibition is a ‘must see’ attraction.
  • A sense of atmosphere – through the creation of a number of subtler, less visible, interventions allowing the history of the ship to ‘seep’ out into the exhibition.
  • A means to interpret, educate and enthral – through the creation of a number of interpretive interactions focused on specific elements of the Cutty Sark story to educate visitors about concepts that may be difficult to understand using more traditional forms of learning, and to allow them to interact directly with the ship itself and its history.

All audiovisual and technology elements were specified to achieve design objectives:

  • They are sympathetic to the ship and the general design approach of the exhibition integrating with other elements such as graphic interpretation devices, physical structures and lighting.
  • They meet specific educational objectives and were tested against them throughout the design process to ensure that they are educationally sound and will remain relevant for future visitors.
  • They are designed in accordance with our accessibility guidelines and with DDA compliance and general accessibility for the widest possible audience in mind.
  • They are designed for robustness and longevity using commercially proven delivery platforms wherever possible, mitigating the risk of equipment failure and reducing ongoing maintenance costs.
  • They are designed to work with the electrical services infrastructure ‘grid’ for the exhibition.

Interactive exhibits for the temporary exhibition

Cutty Sark temporary exhibition

Housed in an architect-designed structure, the temporary exhibition allowed visitors to follow and explore the conservation process of the Cutty Sark.

The technologies for the £110,000 temporary exhibition included:

  • A multi-screen audiovisual theatre
  • A suite of touch screen interactives exploring the science behind the conservation works
  • A multi-camera interactive CCTV system enabling visitors to see first-hand and understand the leading edge conservation works
  • An interactive mirror of ghosts bringing some of the ship’s characters to life
  • A photo system enabling visitors to take away a souvenir of their visit

Visitors enjoyed watching the conservation process at work using the touchscreen CCTV interactives that allowed them to pan around and zoom in to the fabric of the ship in fine detail as the conservation work took place.

Cutty Sark interactive exhibits

Interactive exhibits explained the science behind the composite construction of the ship, the effects that the environment had on it, the preservation of the structure and the preservation of the distinctive shape of the ship.

Cutty Sark structure interactive

Cutty Sark shape interactive

A multi-screen audiovisual theatre used three screens synced to display films and surround sound audio to fully immerse the visitor.

Cutty Sark multiscreen AV theatre