Museum MUSEUMS GALLERIES HERITAGE ARCHIVES CULTURE Issue 22 â€¢ museum-id.com
11 Museum Ideas 2018 Explore the ideas shaping the future of museums around the world. Workshops, special events, study day and international conference
56 Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge Groundbreaking home-turned-gallery has been subtly transformed by a carefully conceived and delightful extension and development
17 #FutureMuseum Project What will museums be like in the future? Leading museum professionals from around the world share their ideas, hopes and expectations
60 SAASCC, Kuwait City Discover how you successfully deliver the world’s largest ever museum complex completed in a single phase
29 Museum of the Year 2018 Art Fund announces the five UK museums which have been selected as finalists for the £100,000 Museum of the Year 2018 prize
83 Innovation Accelerator Tui Te Hau on the growing trend in museums to partner with industry and entrepreneurs to fast track innovation
30 Royal Academy of Arts, London Transformational redevelopment opens up Royal Academy of Arts to reveal more of the elements that make it such a unique institution
90 New Canadian History Hall Chantal Amyot and Lisa Leblanc on developing new ways of sharing and presenting stories and responding to visitor expectations
36 Improving Digital Offerings for Schools Kevin Bickham on how user-centred design methodologies are helping to improve the British Museum’s offering for schools
99 Making Glasgow Women’s Library Adele Patrick on how art, activism and feminist agency has shaped the first quarter century of the ground-breaking organisation
43 M+ Rover: Participatory Art in Learning Winnie Lai on the travelling creative studio and exhibition space that tours local secondary schools and community spaces in Hong Kong
108 Project Portfolio Exceptional projects including the Middle East Galleries at the Penn Museum, and Ocean Liners: Speed & Style at the V&A
51 The RE:THINK Participatory Space Joanna Salter on paving the way for a democratic approach to interpretation and interaction with visitors at the National Maritime Museum
114 Post-Colonial Commonwealth Museums Richard Benjamin on how cultures, stories and material objects are represented in a museum context within the Commonwealth 3
Museum MUSEUMS GALLERIES HERITAGE ARCHIVES CULTURE Issue 22 • museum-id.com
Editor Gregory Chamberlain Creative Director Emma Dawes Design & Production NewEra Media Cover image: Royal Academy of Arts © James Harris © Museum Identity Ltd 2009-2018. All rights reserved ISSN: 2040-736X Online: museum-id.com Email: email@example.com Twitter: @MuseumID Join 36,500+ followers
“Museums are not only full of remarkable things, they are also filled with brilliant people - their energy, dedication and ideas are actively shaping the future of museums”
Editorial statement With a progressive attitude and international approach, Museum-iD publishes a mix of ideas from leading museum innovators. Views expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily those of Museum-iD. Advertising Promote your company to decision-makers in museums. To discuss how we can help you reach the global museum community email firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscriptions Museum-iD magazine is published twice a year. The publication is free - subscribers just help cover postage costs. Additional fees apply to back issues. Order subscriptions and back issues online: museum-id.com. Copyright Apart from fair dealing for the purposes of research no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted without the prior permission of the publisher. Image notice All images are published by kind permission of the copyright holders. Conference Our annual Museum Ideas conference takes place in early October each year in London. Further details: museum-id.com
Museums are not only full of remarkable things, they are also filled with brilliant people. Alongside our annual Museum Ideas conference, this magazine celebrates the vision that progressives in museums around the world are bringing to their work. Their energy, dedication and ideas are actively shaping the future of museums. In this issue Kevin Bickham explains how user-centred design methodologies are helping to improve the British Museum’s offering for schools, Winnie Lai introduces the creative studio that tours schools and community spaces in Hong Kong, and Joanna Salter describes the participatory thinking that is changing interpretation at the National Maritime Museum. You’ll also find Tui Te Hau in New Zealand looking at the growing trend for museums to partner with entrepreneurs to fast track innovation, Chantal Amyot and Lisa Leblanc from the Canadian Museum of History look at new ways of sharing stories and responding to visitor expectations, and Adele Patrick explains how activism and feminist agency has shaped the ground-breaking Glasgow Women’s Library. Our #FutureMuseum project continues with Kayleigh BryantGreenwell on why, with a growing concern for social justice, museums must become places to empower change, Elizabeth Cotton on shifting visitor experience from the museum’s self-proclaimed voice of authority to genuine conversation, and Mike Murawski on why the future of museums is about bringing people together in a more just, equitable, compassionate, and connected society. I trust you find much of interest in this issue and hope to see you at Museum Ideas 2018 in October to continue exploring the ideas shaping the future of museums. Gregory Chamberlain
C O I N C A B I N E T, ROYA L PA L AC E D R E S D E N D I S P L AY C A S E C O N S T R U C T I O N , E X H I B I T I O N C O N S T R U C T I O N , O B J E C T M O U N T I N G
W WW. ARTEX . AT Photo: David-Brandt.de
Meyvaert is synonymous with display solutions: we help museums and art collectors present, preserve and protect their collections by providing sustainable and easy to use exhibition showcases. One of our most recent project completions in the UK is Winchester College Treasury & Museum. Meyvaert’s showcase solutions have enabled Winchester College to beautifully present a range of treasures, including a vast collection of Greek vases and classical sculpture. Some of our display cases were installed high up within the structural beams, creating spectacular eye-catchers that complement the impressive architecture. This project completion is another testimony to Meyvaert’s ability to successfully work in listed buildings, as the Warden’s Stables building in which the collection is exhibited dates back to 1391! For additional information on our current and concluded museum installations, please feel free to contact us.
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Museum Ideas 2018 Book now for an exclusive study day at the National Maritime Museum and the essential Museum Ideas international conference at the Museum of London
“A conference for mind expanding conversations and international networking” – Martin Payne, The British Museum
xplore the ideas shaping the future of museums with an international programme of pioneering speakers, an exclusive study day and the opportunity to make exciting new connections. Now in its seventh year, Museum Ideas welcomes hundreds of leading museum professionals from around the world. Delegates from over 20 countries took part last year. Conference – Museum of London, Thursday 4 October Each year Museum Ideas brings together a group of fascinating speakers and challenges them to share innovative ideas in concise, powerful talks.The aim is for delegates to be inspired by perspectives outside their own specialism and locality. What unites the conference is the quality and enthusiasm of contributors along with their desire to share valuable expertise and experience.
Speakers include Joyoti Roy, Katrina Lashley, Sandra Shakespeare, and Chris Michaels
Speakers this year include: • Joyoti Roy is Head of Marketing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay (CSMVS) Museum in Mumbai, India. Until August 2017, she was Head of Outreach of the National Museum, New Delhi. Between 2011 and 2013 she worked for the National Culture Fund where she coordinated the Ministry of Culture’s Museum Reform Programmes including the Leadership Training Programme in collaboration with the British Museum. Joyoti trained as an art conservator at the National Museum Institute and has been a Charles Wallace India Trust Awardee for the fellowship programme in conservation at the Tate. She is the International Clore Fellow from India for 2017-18 and is currently investigating and searching for the real role of museums in India. Joyoti is an active theatre person and
in 1999 joined the well-known Delhi based Street Theatre group, Jana Natya Manch. • Katrina D. Lashley is a Program Coordinator at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, D.C. Katrina works on the Anacostia’s Urban Waterways project, a documentary and educational initiative which explores the relationships between urban communities and their waterways. Led by the museum’s 50-year perspective that active citizen participation in the recovery and use of the cultural and historical past is a powerful instrument in creating and maintaining a sense of community and civic ownership, Urban Waterways allows communities to challenge accepted narratives of issues pertaining to their ongoing connections to the natural world and the role equitable access to natural resources plays in the imagining and establishment of just, sustainable cities. The project also challenges established norms of the civic obligations of cultural institutions, as the communities they serve confront issues whose impacts are reflected at the local, national, and international levels. Katrina has a BA in English Literature and Italian from Rutgers University and an MA in History from American University. Katrina has worked on projects for the National Museum of American History and Arlington House. • Elizabeth Cotton is Head of Human History at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum – New Zealand. Liz provides leadership to the research, collection development, collection management and engagement activities of a large team of curators and collection managers. Their collective areas of expertise cover Māori, Pacific, Archaeology, Social & War History 11
and Applied Arts & Design collections, and Museum Studies. Liz’s previous roles include working for central government as a senior adviser on movable cultural heritage policy, and in museum registration & collection management. Liz is a graduate of the Getty Leadership Institute (GLI2017), has an MA in Ancient History and a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies. Her primary research interests lie in the ongoing iteration of curatorial practice in 21st century museums, and museum sector development. • Chris Michaels is Digital Director of the National Gallery in London where he sits on their Executive Committee. At the Gallery, he runs the Digital & Communications Directorate with responsibilities including social media, the web, ticketing, membership, marketing and PR. Before he joined the Gallery, he was Head of Digital & Publishing at the British Museum, where he founded their digital department and created their digital strategy. He acts as an advisor to the Humboldt Forum, the new cultural institution being built in Berlin and has acted as advisor to museums in Qatar and Singapore. Before entering the world of Museums, Chris was CEO of educational startup Mindshapes, and he has led digital functions in TV, publishing and advertising. Chris has a PhD from the University of Bristol. • Elizabeth Galvin is an anthropologist and digital humanities specialist and is the leader of the Digital Programmes Team at the Victoria & Albert Museum. In this role, she manages the research, formation, and implementation of
digital programmes and educational technology to explore collections. Prior to joining the V&A, Elizabeth was a curator at the British Museum, where, most recently, she was the project manager and leader of a major digital research project. Her academic interests are focused on the intersection of technology and digital outputs in academia with traditional museum research and engagement practices. • Sandra Shakespeare is a member of Museum Detox – a networking group for BAME professionals in museums and heritage. Museum Detox works on two fronts: Organisational - building awareness within cultural organisations around diversity issues, and pushing for real progress in BAME diversity, inclusion and representation; and Individual - strengthening ‘the pipeline’ for BAME individuals working throughout the museum sector and progressing towards leadership positions. Museum Detox are working to expand cultural representation on all levels: within the stories museums tell, the perspectives these stories represent, and the workforce which brings them to life and presents them to the public. Sandra was previously Community Project Officer at The National Archives where she led ‘Caribbean through a lens’, engaging over 100,000 people with photographic collections on site and online. She was a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme (2014/15) and has delivered youth arts projects in partnership with the V&A, Royal Opera House, and Urban Development amongst others. Previous roles include Arts Development Coordinator for East Potential, Stratford;
Learning Communities Development Worker for London Borough of Tower Hamlets; and Marketing Assistant for Black Women in the Arts. • Tui Te Hau is Innovation Hub Manager for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The start-up community is the grassroots of innovation in any city and Tui has been involved in Wellington’s innovation eco-system since its beginning. For almost two years, she has been leading Mahuki – Te Papa’s innovation accelerator. Tui’s background includes working for NZTE where she headed up the Maori Enterprise Team supporting major primary exporters into offshore markets. She went on to be New Zealand Trade Commissioner based in Melbourne and on her return to New Zealand headed up NZTE’s exporter education programme. Tui then spent over a decade working with start-ups and was the former Chief Executive of Creative HQ. Tui was responsible for the establishment of the Lightning Lab, New Zealand’s business acceleration programme. • Manal Ataya has served as DirectorGeneral of the Sharjah Museums Department in the United Arab Emirates for eight years and currently manages 16 museums. The department is responsible for the strategic development of future museum projects, fostering partnerships with the international museum community and leading the effort to deliver best practice in museum services. The current scope of the museums includes Islamic culture and history, contemporary art, heritage, maritime
Museum Ideas - venue partners and sponsors Thank you to our venue partners and the world-leading companies supporting the sharing of ideas in museums globally
An inspiring conference with passionate, generous people that are willing to share best practice openly, honestly, and with an open mind”
“A packed globetrotting programme that gives a breadth of insight into museums that is not otherwise accessible – diverse and inspiring”
“An inspirational conference! A coming together of museum minds from across the world – gaining insights, sharing ideas and making connections”
– Roshni Hirani, Royal Museums Greenwich
– Susan Eskdale, Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton
– Gillian Crumpton, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
history, archaeology, science, and children’s learning. Manal currently serves on the boards of the College of Fine Art and Design, University of Sharjah and of ICCROM-ATHAR, the regional centre for cultural heritage preservation in the Arab region. She was an international fellowship recipient for the Clore Leadership Programme in 2010. Ataya holds a BA in Studio Art and Communication Studies from Hamilton College and a graduate degree in Museum Studies from Harvard University. Study Day – National Maritime Museum, Wed 3 October Over the past 4 years Royal Museums Greenwich has been undertaking a dynamic journey in the development and delivery of the Endeavour Project. It has been working to facilitate historical, cultural and personal journeys through the collections in the development of four new galleries which will transform the visitor experience and a new collections storage and conservation centre that will be open to the public. The galleries, opening in September 2018 at the National Maritime Museum, have been created to examine how women and men ventured beyond Britain’s shores to explore the ends of the earth in a quest for knowledge, riches, power and adventure from the late fifteenth century onwards. Visitors to the new galleries will not only discover how people and cultures encountered in the past were irrevocably changed by this contact,
but also how Britain was and continues to be transformed by this process. By working with communities to unlock the full potential of the museums rich collections, the galleries will inspire and challenge new generations to set sail on their own voyages of imagination and understanding. The individual and collective voyages will highlight hidden histories and demonstrate contemporary relevance. The work has created a sea change in the Museum with new approaches to community research, co-curation, and partnership working in the delivery of interpretation and programmes. This exclusive study day will showcase the process and outcomes of collaborative working and how it impacts on future planning and facilitation of collections access. The day will comprise of a series of gallery tours and talks and the option to visit the new £12 million Conservation and Collections Centre. Workshops and Tours– Tues 2 Oct There will be an extensive programme of pre-conference workshops and events - including an exclusive tour of the London Mithraeum. The Roman Temple of Mithras has been revealed in a unique reconstruction on the site of its original discovery in the heart of the City of London. The immersive temple reconstruction uses carefully directed lights, haze and sound to bring the temple’s remains to life, and to evoke the rituals and activities that took place within its cave-like walls. This memorable reconstruction marks a new direction for the interpretation
and presentation of archaeological ruins. The project has taken ten years to complete and has been funded and created by Bloomberg, working closely with the City of London and in consultation with the expert team at MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology). The immersive display within the temple was created by an interdisciplinary team led by internationally-recognised design firm Local Projects. 1-3 Day Event Your ticket gives you access to all 3 days although the study day, workshops and tours have more limited capacity and places will be allocated on a first-reserve, first-booked basis. The main conference is designed so it can be attended as a standalone event. If you are on a tight schedule and can only put one day aside, the conference will deliver plenty of innovative ideas, insights and inspiration. You will be sent the full 3-day programme so you can book on to the events that are most of interest to you. Early-Bird Registration Register now for Museum Ideas 2018 – with fresh insights you can take directly back to your team, the events will add tremendous value to your current work and are an active investment in the future and what you choose to do next. With additional multiple booking discounts, tickets start at £157 for the 3-day event. Book your place now at museum-id.com to secure the earlybird rate. 13
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Future Museum Project What will museums be like in the future? Leading museum professionals share their ideas, hopes and expectations. Join the #FutureMuseum Project at museum-id.com and add your voice to the future of museums
Kayleigh BryantGreenwell is an award-winning cultural programmer devoted to exploring ways to engage with marginalized audiences through art, museum, and social justice practice. In her role as Education Specialist with the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), she curates participatory public programs focusing on social justice issues, which empower museum audiences to share their own ideas and strategies towards equity. Before joining NMAAHC, she contributed to the launch of the Women, Arts, and Social Change initiative at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, as the public programs coordinator. Kayleigh also works with the Empathetic Museum initiative in their efforts to increase empathy inside the museum profession. Kayleigh’s work explores the intersection of museums, social change, art and culture through programming, curating, writing, and collaborative efforts in systemic shift towards equity.
The 21st Century Museum: A Think-tank for Community Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, Curator and Museum Education Specialist, Washington, D.C.
he future of museums lies in reconsidering their role in 21st Century society. Already so early in the Century several trends have emerged which define the zeitgeist, namely: climate change and social cohesion – or in a single word: justice. Concerns for environmental and social justice alike have seen mass marches populated by hundreds of thousands of people held simultaneously worldwide. Thanks to the digital boom, it is now easier than ever before to inform, empower, and mobilize large populations against injustice. With so many global welfare concerns from human trafficking to environmental wellness, to which there are such polarizing governance, the social justice revolution doesn’t seem to be waning any time soon. And therein lies the true future of museums: timeliness. Due to a convergence of factors: digital immediacy, globalization, 24-hour news reels, and instant connectivity via social media, the world runs on the instantly-updated now. In such a world, where people are ever-increasingly engaged with art, culture, science, and innovation of the immediate, museums must adapt in order to effectively and appropriately serve their audiences. Museums must also reconsider their defining role in society. Historically, museums have functioned as temples of wisdom through the preservation of artifacts. In the Digital Age museums had to adapt to serve an increasingly technologically-connected audience. Today, museums must once again redefine their meaning. Conceptually, museums are centers of ideas,
“As visitors express a growing concern for social justice, museums must become places to empower ideas and strategies towards change”
specifically centers of the discovery, empowerment, and nurture of ideas. Through curatorial-led historical interpretation, scientific education, and artistic expression, museums have always exemplified this role. However, as museums become ever more participatory, it is urgent that the position of the visitor is also to be discovered, empowered, and nurtured. As visitors, through social media and other forms of engagement with the museum, express a growing concern for social justice, museums must become places to empower ideas and strategies towards change. Simply put, museums must embrace their roles as think-tanks. In truth, museums have always operated as such, just not explicitly. In an effort to embrace timeliness, and the ever elusive truth, museums must overtly accept this role. The 21st Century museum will come to be defined by its timeliness in response to social justice issues, its role in social justice issues within its community, and its position as a place where ideas are catalyzed. As think-tanks, the future of museums is the future itself. 17
“Shifting visitor experience from the museum’s self-proclaimed voice of authority to genuine conversation - utilising the agency of collections to empower, engage and uncover layers of meaning - is the future” From Voice of Authority to Genuine Conversation Elizabeth Cotton, Head of Human History, Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tamaki Paenga Hira, New Zealand The future of museums is one where the old paradigm of a collectionsfocussed approach versus an audiencecentric approach are no longer the only two spheres we think in and they are no longer put up against each other as an either/or argument. For museums in post-colonial countries, the primacy of the object in engaging with indigenous communities will be the driver and not the afterthought. Shifting visitor experience from the museum’s selfproclaimed voice of authority to genuine conversation - utilising the agency of collections to empower, engage, to uncover layers of meaning - is the future. This will require an opening of the doors, an understanding that there are multiple view points and that museums are the sharers of collections and the gatherer of different knowledge systems relating to multiple audiences. Co-development will be the norm rather than the exception, acknowledging the importance of engaging communities from the outset in the development of programmes, exhibitions, collection development and collection care. This is a next step from consultation, it is a meaningful process where the outcome has not been already defined by the institution and presented to the community for input, but one where the outcome and the process is open at the outset to the influence of the communities whose cultural heritage is held in safe keeping by the museum on their behalf. A true bi-cultural approach is one based on 18
genuine partnership, and is at the heart of co-development. Taking the collections to audiences, whether digitally or physically, is part of this conversation, as are considerations such as the importance of communities being able to engage without barriers, to touch, to celebrate and to perform alongside collections. A global view, moving away from “museum best practice” to community best practice is required. Recovering Our Human Sensibilities Diana Chen, Gallery Lecturer, MoMA, New York The goal of museum education in the future will be to curate experiences that reconnect visitors to their shared humanity. Museum education will be less about worshiping masterpieces, but more about enriching personal experience. Museum technology will not be the ultimate goal for museums, but will instead act as a vehicle to help generate a deeper understanding for a cross section of visitors. Depth of understanding comes from taking time and looking at original pieces of art. By focusing too much on digital experience, we disconnect from our human senses - smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch - and, in the process, lose our artistic sensibility. A museum should be a place to help us be conscious of the things that make us human. Ideally, the future museum will be a place for us to redevelop our sensibilities. Ideas and intelligence might be the most valuable products in our time, and they will remain relevant even while careers change. Instead of striving to compensate for the knowledge that schools fail to teach,
Elizabeth Cotton is Head of Human History at the Auck land War Memorial Museum, Tamaki Paenga Hira, in New Zealand. In her role she provides support and leadership of the research, collection development, collection management and outreach functions relating to the Human History collecting areas – Māori, Pacific, Archaeology, Foreign Ethnology, History and Applied Arts & Design. Elizabeth has an MA in Ancient History and Egyptology from the University of Auckland and a Post Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies from Massey University. She is also an alumni of the Museum Leadership program at the Getty Leadership Institute in Los Angeles. Diana Chen is a published art specialist with over six years of experience in the art business and education. Diana received her Master’s degree in Art and Art Education from Columbia University and currently works as an Independent Art Advisor and Lecturer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She specializes in Modern, Contemporary, Asian Contemporary, and Classical Chinese Art.
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“The future of museums is being shaped by the work we are doing right now to take action toward positive social change to bring people together into a more just, compassionate, and connected society”
Mike Murawski is Director of Education & Public Programs at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, and Founding Editor of ArtMuseumTeaching.com. Mike earned his MA and PhD in Education from American University in Washington, DC. Prior to his position at the Portland Art Museum, he served as Director of School Services at the Saint Louis Art Museum as well as Head of Education and Public Programs at the Kemper Art Museum. Dana Mitroff Silvers is a design thinking facilitator, user researcher and digital experience strategist with 15+ years of experience building and managing customer-centered digital products, services, and experiences. She is Founder and Director of Designing Insights, and Editor of Design Thinking for Museums. Dana studied at the University of Southern California and Stanford Graduate School of Business, has a Master’s Degree in the History of Art from the University of Chicago, and is a Faculty Member of the Getty Leadership Institute.
the museums of the future will offer a place where innovative ideas can be heard and discussed. When these ideas change our behavior, they can change the world. Museums as Agents of Change Mike Murawski, Director of Education & Public Programs, Portland Art Museum Museums everywhere have the potential to serve as agents of social change – bringing people together, contributing to local communities, and changing people’s lives. Given our current moment of political polarization, highly-contested social debates, and widespread global efforts to confront oppression, now is the time to challenge the entrenched traditional notions of museums and proactively shape a new future. Now is the time to transform the roles that museums serve within our communities, envisioning them as living institutions and active spaces for connection and coming together, for dialogue and difficult conversations, and for listening and sharing. Museums have the potential to amplify marginalized voices and celebrate unheard stories. They can be spaces for acknowledging and reflecting on difference, and for bridging divides. They can be spaces for justice, growth, struggle, love, and hope. It is the vital task of museum professionals – as well as museum visitors, civic leaders, community organizers, and the broader public – to radically expand the work of museums as agents of change and more fiercely recognize the work that museums are doing to enact change around the relevant issues in our communities. These conversations
and actions cannot take place solely behind museum walls or in the isolation of professional conferences. We need to publicly work together to realize this change. This work involves an enormous amount of listening, developing trust, and building relationships – both within our museums as well as with our audiences and communities. It involves shaping and productively debating a set of core values that reflect a commitment to accessibility, inclusion, justice, and human rights. It involves growing a community of change and advocacy from within, and envisioning the work of our museums as human-centered. The future of museums is being shaped by the work we are doing right now to take action toward positive social change to bring people together into a more just, equitable, compassionate, and connected society. Experience-Driven, People-Centred Dana Mitroff Silvers, Founder and Director, Designing Insights The museum of the future will be more visitor and guest-centered than ever before in the history of museums and cultural institutions. Humancentered processes such as Design Thinking and Service Design will become critical, foundational skills for emerging museum professionals, and museum staff will need to be fluent in people-centered, qualitative methods and practices in order to bring nuance and insights to the “big data” at their fingertips and better serve their audiences. This transformation in the traditional museum model has been emerging over the past two decades, but will become the norm and not the exception in the future. As stated in 21
“Museums that cling to traditional, authoritative models and artifact-driven approaches will lose audiences on a dramatic scale to new types of experience-driven, guest-centered organizations that we can’t even imagine today”
the most recent Culture Track report published by LaPlaca Cohen, “With loyalty now rooted in trust, consistency, and kindness, empathic, servicefocused relationships will replace existing transactional models.” This notion of empathic, servicefocused relationships is nothing new in for-profit organizations, and museums of the future will embrace this holistic and human-centered approach as well. The museums that cling to traditional, authoritative models and artifactdriven approaches will lose audiences on a dramatic scale to new types of experience-driven, guest-centered organizations that we can’t even imagine today. Opportunity for New Audiences Catherine Devine, Chief Digital Officer, American Museum of Natural History Let’s look back thirty years as a way to appreciate the possibilities of the next thirty years. In 1990, technologies that we all take for granted today didn’t exist. Websites didn’t exist, Google didn’t exist, smartphones didn’t exist, personal computers barely existed. Today, we take these technologies for granted. They have fundamentally changed our lives, how we work and live and in turn how our audiences experience the Museum today and what they expect from a Museum. It’s much easier to look to the past and see change than to imagine change in the future. We see glimpses of the future today in artificial intelligence and machine learning, use of data, augmented and virtual reality but there will many others currently unimagined. Technology will develop even more rapidly and whilst we may not be able to imagine the form it will take, that 22
exponential growth and change is a certainty. Forrester analysts expect 10 times the change in the next 5 years than in the past 5. Glimpses are available in today’s emerging technologies, by imagining them in a much more mature state. Glimpses also exist in considering the barriers we take for granted today and imagining they don’t exist. Barriers of time, place, size and reality are a small insight into potential opportunities. To experience other times, places, add to or remove the real world and experience other scales such as life as an ant, or navigating the universe. These changes presents Museums with enormous opportunities to present in new ways and capture new audiences. Focus on School Programmes Amy McDowall, Primary Learning Coordinator, Manchester Museum When I began working in museums 10 years ago, school programmes seemed top of our collective agendas. With sustained access to much-needed cash, museums were transforming their learning offers and vastly increasing their school visitor numbers. We innovated, we collaborated, and we had a shared vision. But recently, schools have barely featured in the sector’s big conference programmes. Yes, most museums now have established learning offers – often despite dramatic funding cuts – but have we really not changed our approach in a decade? And where are these programmes going next? We must not take this audience for granted. Schools are the museum sector’s most diverse visitor group, and therefore one of our greatest assets.
Catherine Devine is Chief Digital Officer at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and Program Co-Chair at the Museum Computer Network. Catherine is responsible for the digital transformation of the American Museum of Natural History experience onsite and online, including digital strategy, experience, insights and analytics, search, architecture and execution of key strategic enterprise digital projects. She studied Business at University of Technology, Sydney, and Oregon State University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Business Analytics at Syracuse University. Amy McDowall is Primary Learning Coordinator at the Manchester Museum in the UK. Amy has worked in the heritage and education sectors for ten years in varied roles including 3 years as a classroom teacher, and is particularly interested in family engagement through schools and in empowering children as activists. Amy studied a combined Honours degree in History, Psychology and Philosophy at Durham University and has a PGCE from Manchester Metropolitan University.
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T 023 9259 5000 E firstname.lastname@example.org www.ats-heritage.co.uk 23
“We will reap the rewards of a more diverse future audience; one that has grown up owning its museums, who will see museums as vital in shaping and enabling the crucial debates of their lives, and who will fight for museums in an uncertain future” Bridget McKenzie has over 27 years experience of designing, managing and evaluating innovative cultural and creative learning programmes. She founded Flow Associates with Mark Stevenson in 2006 and helped form a sister branch in India in 2010. Flow Associates support cultural organisations with learning and digital strategies and research. Bridget’s previous roles include Head of Learning at the British Library and Education Officer at Tate. Bridget read History of Art at the University of Sussex, has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Brighton University, and an MA in Art History from Chelsea College of Art & Design.
How we engage with children on educational visits really does matter, yet our best ideas and most inclusive practice rarely reach our day-today learning programmes. Does the average day-long school visitor get to co-produce an exhibition, pursue their personal interests, or engage in dialogue with curators? Do they debate, collaborate, create, or feel a sense of ownership of their local museum? One barrier for us is, I imagine, the fear that that this type of visit wouldn’t fit with the curriculumfocussed demands of the customer here - namely, the teacher. But the wider education sector is now changing too. Heavily content-based curricula – much like the idea of ‘museums as knowledge-keepers’ – are looking increasingly archaic in the digital age. Education in the future will be about what is done with all this knowledge … though the debates we’ll be having will be as old as humanity itself: How do we apply knowledge and technological advances to improve our world? How do we understand cultural difference? What makes a good life, or a just society? What is ‘truth’? We know that museums are ideal places to have these conversations. With our skills and expertise in facilitating these conversations with other groups, we should now be supporting the mainstream education sector to have them with us too. If we succeed, we will reap the rewards of a more diverse future audience; one that has grown up owning its museums, who will see museums as vital in shaping and enabling the crucial debates of their lives, and who will fight for museums in an uncertain future.
Museums Must Take the Ethical Path Bridget McKenzie, Director, Flow Associates When predicting the future of museums, it’s vital to consider where we are referring to. As Tom Atlee has written “things are getting better and better and worse and worse, faster and faster, simultaneously”. The better and the worse are not evenly distributed. Parts of the world are being destroyed by climate change, industrial ecocide and wars over resources, and are en route, faster and faster, to even worse. The role of museums for those places, such that they will exist, will be extreme conservation and salvage. That might mean locking up against looters, rather than opening up as places of sanctuary. It might mean moving collections into safer countries and using digital tools to maintain connections with communities of those places. The countries for whom things have been getting better, due to technology and benefiting from the industrial ecocide we choose not to see, will also become more unequal than many of them already are. Their communities, divided between haves and have-nots, will divide again between those who recognise their duties to regenerate the planet and repair injustices, and those who turn on each other and seek power. If museums want to continue to exist, by being relevant, they will take the ethical path. They will proactively work with communities to shift towards more regenerative and circular economies. They will explore ethical and participatory forms of entrepreneurship in order to sustain themselves when or where public funding dries up. They will provide 25
“Immersive media allow us to diversify the stories we tell, to layer meaning and embrace ambiguity. They can work seamlessly at the interstices of the physical and digital - they are performative, unruly and increasingly ambitious” safe, inclusive spaces for envisaging possible futures, for learning from past and indigenous cultures and from the capacities of nature, and for helping communities take action for eco-social justice. They will look to the unliveable places and see people and non-human species exiled from, or still suffering, there as part of their community, our shared world. Conserving heritage will be recognised as the core purpose of museums, but this will not contradict a greater emphasis on inclusive public education. Conservation and public service will be seen as one and the same thing. With this integral sense of purpose, their structures will become more sociocratic and less hierarchical. A Maturing of Immersive Experiences Jenny Kidd, Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University / Co-Director, Digital Media & Society Research Group We have seen increasing use of the term ‘immersive’ across the museums sector in recent years. The term is used (loosely) to describe encounters that are audience centred, arouse the senses, engage the emotions, and that are attuned to their environment. They have been referred to as opportunities to pursue a shift from storytelling to storyliving. Immersive practice is often – but not always – infused with the digital, although its digitality should not be understood as a defining feature. Immersive experiences are much broader than VR, AR or 3D sound (for example). Some are stubbornly analogue. We have now entered a more nuanced stage in the development of these kinds of experiences. And so it follows that there are emergent ethical and practical questions, consideration of which will occupy increasing 26
resources (financial, cognitive, time). These include: What kinds of immersive experiences and storyworlds can be built in and around museums? How closely tethered do these have to be to the other stories that are being told on site (offline or online)? How should invitations to participate be framed? How can we meaningfully evaluate that quality of being immersed? And what can’t immersive experiences do? Some critics are cynical, seeing the increased shift toward ‘the immersive’ as a form of aesthetic and emotional capitalism. It is perhaps true that museums understand immersive encounters as one way to better position themselves within the ‘experience economy’, where the competition is increasingly coming from escape rooms and street games. As a scholar-practitioner who has been involved in the commission, curation and evaluation of a number of immersive experiences I recognise such critiques as important, but I see great potential here also. Immersive media allow us to diversify the stories we tell, to layer meaning and to embrace ambiguity. They can work seamlessly at the interstices of the physical and digital, and offer experiences that move creatively between the individual and the collective. They are performative, embodied, unruly and increasingly ambitious. Going forward, we will see museums’ immersive projects more forcefully connecting and contributing to social movements for peace, equality and justice, environmental activism, and the radical overhaul of representations. Join the #FutureMuseum Project at museum-id.com
Jenny Kidd is a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University, Co-Director of the Digital Media & Society Research Group, member of the Editorial Board of Cardiff University Press and part of the Cardiff University Digital Cultures Network. She is also Managing Editor of Museum and Society. Formerly a web editor and designer, Jenny lectures and publishes across the fields of digital media, the creative industries and the cultural sector. She is a keen advocate of immersive and participatory media practices and she has recently worked on projects with The Tower of London, National Museums Northern Ireland, National Trust Scotland, Royal Armouries, Imperial War Museums, and Tate Britain. Jenny has a BA in English from Swansea University, an MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes, and a PhD from Cardiff University.
Design by National Museums Liverpool | Image © Gareth Jones
Since the 9th of February 2018 the World Museum in Liverpool has been welcoming visitors from near and far to experience one of the world’s greatest archaeological discoveries. This unmissable exhibition spans almost 1,000 years of Chinese history; from the turbulent times of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty to the achievements and legacy of the Qin and Han Dynasties. China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors is the latest in a succession of blockbuster exhibition fit outs delivered by The Hub and runs until 28th October 2018.
China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors Collider: Step Inside the Worlds Greatest Experiment Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age David Bowie Is Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970
Museum of the Year 2018
Art Fund announces 2018 shortlist for £100,000 prize
he Art Fund has announced the five UK museums which have been selected as finalists for Museum of the Year 2018. The winning museum, which will receive £100,000, will be announced at a ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on Thursday 5 July 2018. The other four shortlisted museums will receive £10,000 each in recognition of their achievements. Art Fund awards the Museum of the Year prize annually to one outstanding museum, which, in the opinion of the judges, has shown exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement in the preceding year. This year’s jury, chaired by Stephen Deuchar, comprises: Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group; Rebecca Jones, BBC arts correspondent; Melanie Manchot, artist; and Monisha Shah, independent media consultant and Art Fund trustee. The shortlisted museums are: • Brooklands Museum, Weybridge • Ferens Art Gallery, Hull • Glasgow Women’s Library • The Postal Museum, London • Tate St Ives The 2018 Art Fund Museum of the Year prize finalists. Clockwise from top left: Ferens Art Gallery, Hull; Tate St Ives; The Postal Museum, London; Brooklands Museum, Weybridge; Glasgow Women’s Library. All images: Marc Atkins © Art Fund
Speaking on behalf of the jury, Stephen Deuchar, director, Art Fund, said: ‘Above all, Art Fund Museum of the Year is a prize for exceptional originality and innovation. Each of our five finalists has tapped into very current concerns: the progress of Glasgow Women’s Library exemplifies the quickening march towards equality; the Postal Museum addresses our first social network; Brooklands is inspiring the next generation of engineers; and the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull and Tate St Ives are galvanising their communities around visual culture. Each one expands the very idea of what a museum can be.’ www.artfund.org 29
Opposite page: The Wohl Entrance Hall; left and below left: Weston Bridge and The Lovelace Courtyard, images by Simon Menges; above: The Gabrielle JungelsWinkler Galleries, image by Rory Mulvey © Royal Academy of Arts
he Royal Academy of Arts (RA) opened its new campus to the public on 19 May 2018 as part of the celebrations of its 250th anniversary. Following a transformational £56 million redevelopment, designed by internationally-acclaimed architect Sir David Chipperfield CBE RA and supported by the National Lottery, the new RA opens up to reveal more of the elements that make it unique - sharing with the public historic treasures from its Collection, the work of its Royal Academicians and the Royal Academy Schools, and its role as a centre for debate about art and architecture - alongside its world-class exhibitions programme. One of the key features of the redevelopment is the new Weston Bridge between Burlington House and Burlington Gardens, uniting the two-acre campus and creating a new route between Piccadilly and Mayfair. The unified campus provides 70% more public space than the RA’s original Burlington House footprint, enabling the RA to expand its exhibition and events programme, and 30
to create new and free displays of art and architecture across the campus for visitors year-round. From dedicated galleries and displays exploring its foundation and history in training artists, to changing exhibits and interventions devoted to showcasing contemporary works by Royal Academicians and students at the art school at the heart of the campus. The display of the Royal Academy Collection has been curated by Royal Academicians and designed by renowned museographer Adrien Gardère. The Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries provides the Royal Academy with an impressive third suite of galleries for temporary exhibitions. Refurbished with state of the art conditions, the galleries are naturally day-lit and support an exhibition programme of contemporary art and architecture. Since 1768, the Royal Academy’s founding principle has been to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts and architecture, which the RA has achieved through a rich public programme of discussion and debate as
Royal Academy of Arts Transformational redevelopment opens up Royal Academy of Arts to reveal more of the elements that make it such a unique institution
Top: Collection Gallery including the ‘Taddei Tondo’ by Michelangelo and almost full-size sixteenth century copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. Above: The Vaults. Images by James Harris © Royal Academy of Arts
well as exhibitions. The creation of the new 250-seat Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, the Clore Learning Centre and the restoration of the Wolfson British Academy Room, give the RA permanent spaces for it to thrive as a hub of learning and debate well into the future. Animating the campus throughout the year, the RA’s new public events programme will increase in scale and ambition, featuring festivals, major talks and in-conversations, architecture awards, more hands-on creative educational activities for families, schools and community groups, as well as academic courses including the newly launched Executive Master in Cultural Leadership, and a range of classes for adult learners. A new public route through the campus integrates the Royal Academy Schools, located at the very heart of the Academy, into the visitors’ experience revealing the Academy’s important role in arts education and its long tradition of training artists. The new Weston Studio, a public project space for students and alumni, and views of the Schools’ Corridor and the newly landscaped Lovelace Courtyard, provide visitors with a greater insight into Britain’s longest established art school. The transformation of the Royal Academy has included the vital conservation of the Grade II* listed building of 6 Burlington Gardens. Designed by Sir James Pennethorne
(1801 – 1871) as the headquarters for the University of London on a site which had previously been part of the garden of Burlington House, it was regarded as a masterpiece of mid-Victorian architecture. Acquired by the Royal Academy in 2001, its former tenants included the Civil Service Commission, the British Academy and the British Museum’s Museum of Mankind. The new David Chipperfield designed architecture, together with the careful conservation of the façade, the reinstatement of the lecture theatre and restoration of The Dorfman Senate Rooms by Julian Harrap Architects, contribute to the nationally renowned significance of Burlington Gardens. New Exhibition Spaces Tacita Dean’s exhibition LANDSCAPE (19 May – 12 August 2018) inaugurates the new Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries in Burlington Gardens. With lead support from Art Fund, the exhibition is part of an unprecedented collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery in London. The magnificent new Royal Academy Collection Gallery present The Making of an Artist: The Great Tradition highlighting works from the RA Collection, including the ‘Taddei Tondo’ by Michelangelo and the RA’s almost full-size sixteenth century copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, along with paintings
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The refurbished Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, Wirral
Architects & Designers Heritage Leaders Consultants
by Reynolds, Kauffman, Thornhill, Constable, Gainsborough and Turner. The Architecture Studio within The Dorfman Senate Rooms provides a creative space that invites audience engagement with innovative and critical ideas on architecture and its intersection with the arts. Located at the entrance to the Weston Bridge, which connects Burlington Gardens to Burlington House, The Ronald and Rita McAulay Gallery stages site-specific installations by Royal Academicians. Moving through to Burlington House, visitors arrive at the Weston Studio. Here a changing contemporary series will bring the ethos and thinking of the RA Schools’ postgraduate programme to life with two displays a year and projects developed by students and graduates. Eat, shop and relax New spaces to eat and drink include the Senate Room bar and restaurant located within The Dorfman Senate Rooms on the first floor. The room is a magnificent double-height space, formerly the meeting place of the Senate of the University of London. It has been fully restored to the highest conservation standards by David Chipperfield Architects. Further cafes and shops are located either side of the Burlington Gardens entrance. Other extensive improvements have been made across the campus to create new ticket desks and cloakrooms. The ground floor
features a series of spaces designed to welcome visitors throughout the day. The Newsstand is open from 8am with art magazines, cards and stationery and news of what’s happening across the RA throughout the day. Also open from 8am is the Poster Bar, designed as a stop-off for visitors wanting a quick reviving coffee or snack - to eat in or takeaway. Transforming the Royal Academy The Royal Academy Development Trust has played a significant role in securing funding for the project. The redevelopment has been funded with a £12.7m grant from the National Lottery. Major support has also been received from a number of private individuals, including Mrs Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler, Ronald and Rita McAulay, The McLennan Family, The Mead Family Foundation, Mr and Mrs Robert Miller and Sir Simon and Lady Robertson, as well as trusts and foundations including the Blavatnik Family Foundation, The Cadogan Charity, Clore Duffield Foundation, the Dorfman Foundation, Dunard Fund, The Foyle Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation, The Monument Trust, The Rothschild Foundation and The Wolfson Foundation. The RA also launched a public appeal to raise £3m which helped complete its transformative redevelopment and realise the ambitious plans for its 250th anniversary.
Top left: The Vaults, image by Simon Menges; top right: The Wohl Entrance Hall, image by Rory Mulvey; above: Wohl Entrance Hall, image by James Harris. © Royal Academy of Arts
Improving The British Museum’s Digital Offering for Schools Kevin Bickham is an award-winning product designer, specialising in user experience and user interface design. Born in California, Kevin gained his degree in Product Design at Stanford University before working as a Strategic Consultant at DEGW (now AECOM) in New York. Following a Master’s Degree in Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, Kevin joined the British Museum to create new products and experiences as Lead Interaction Designer. Kevin is now leaving the BM to join the digital design team at the consulting firm McKinsey & Co
Kevin Bickham on how user-centred design methodologies and co-design sessions are helping to improve the British Museum’s offering for schools and young audiences
ere are two facts about my life at the British Museum. First, my office is located right behind the galleries that hold the Museum’s collection of mummies. Second, I am often late for meetings. These two facts are not unrelated. Nope. One is actually the cause of the other. It is the case that I am often late for meetings because my office is located right behind the galleries that hold the Museum’s collection of mummies. This is a fact. But, I need to apply a qualifier in order for people to understand why this is the case. I am often late for meetings because my office is located right behind the galleries that hold the Museum’s collection of mummies, where there are hordes of school children with their activity sheets, blocking the flow of traffic. Navigating through excited children and their meticulously organised teachers usually brings my walking pace to a shuffle. Ergo, I am frequently late for meetings. Now, I notice a few things about these school children during my shuffle to my meeting. The first is that each school group has a different activity sheet or activity backpack. One group is studying a panel of painted
hieroglyphs with fierce intensity, while another group is feverishly moving from case to case in search of items for their scavenger sheet. The next thing I notice as I leave the gallery is the queue of students waiting to enter the gallery. The teachers work in unison to temper the excitement of the students as they wait their turn for entry. Then, the thought occurs to me that for every school day, we have hundreds of school children arriving at the Museum, organised into time slots for gallery viewings with their various activity sheets. I am fascinated. Is this an activity sheet that the teacher has prepared himself or did we provide the resource? How far in advance did they book their time slot in order to see this gallery? What was the experience like booking through our website? That question alone piques my interest, as it is my job to make that online experience the best possible. The Digital Programme Delivery team in the British Museum is currently working towards delivering a new website next year to the public. As Lead Interaction Designer here at the Museum, my team and I work across a portfolio of key digital products essential to delivering the Museum’s
digital strategy. On top of delivering a new suite of technology solutions (including a new content management system), we employ user-centred design methodologies, like iterative user testing and co-design sessions, to create products that reflect both the brand values of the Museum, as well as the needs of an expanding global audience interested in our collection. This participatory approach to design allows our key Museum stakeholders - both the visiting public, as well as internal staff members - to have a say about their needs for a digital platform for one of the world’s leading cultural institutions. It is my team’s prerogative to balance these diverse needs in creating a seamless user experience. One example of our engagement with stakeholders for the website includes working with the Schools and Young Audience (SYA) team to re-design the learning section. Key challenges It is a grey, January day in London and my team sits down with SYA team for the first of four workshops to discuss the new learning section on the website. I am a tad giddy because I believe that this is one of the more important sections of the website, so I am excited at the prospect of collaborating with SYA to get it right. If we can design a better user experience for this section, then I can quickly imagine a domino effect, positively impacting the experience of teachers, students, and British Museum staff. The vibe that I sense from SYA is one of cautious optimism. They know that their sections are fairly bloated with outdated content and that it needs a thorough audit, but they haven’t been empowered to completely re-imagine what the website could be for their audiences. So, here we are… We begin by discussing their key challenges in delivering content and information to their audiences. The first challenge identified is that the current learning section is heavily focused on primary schools and young family visitors. Even though secondary schools and teenage audiences are important demographics
© British Museum
for the SYA team, their content tends to be under-represented. This makes sense since primary school curricula tend to focus on cultural areas or historical time periods, which neatly align with the layout of our collection. Secondary schools tend just to focus on particular subject matter. So, more effort has to go into the interpretation of the objects in order to retrieve the relevant stories supporting the subject. Another key challenge is the presentation of teaching resources and teaching sessions for both on-site visits and the classroom. Currently, navigating resources and sessions on the website is difficult because of the lack of both visual and content hierarchy, as well as the lack of filtering functionality. When a teacher comes to the resources section of the website, they are presented with a long, scrolling page of resources, all on display at once. A veteran teacher familiar with our website might not have any difficulty navigating this mammoth list of hyperlinks, but firsttime visitors would find navigating our resources page a daunting task. When a teacher has finally located the resource or session, the process of booking is time-consuming, tedious, and difficult
“We employ user-centred design methodologies, like iterative user testing and co-design sessions, to create products that reflect the needs of an expanding global audience interested in our collection”
for not only the teachers making the booking, but also the Museum staff processing the booking. A related challenge for re-designing the learning section was to clarify the ambiguous category of ‘adult learner’ and define their user experience on the platform. It is fair to say that one of the main objectives of any cultural institution is to educate the viewer about the meaning and context of the objects collected and displayed. ‘Learning’ is the explicit objective for all of the Museum’s programming. So, how do we then decide what constitutes an ‘adult learner’ as a target audience for our platform? For the Museum, the team responsible for delivering content for adult learning predominantly channels their efforts into programmes like gallery talks and lectures. The big question is whether or not this content should live in the learning section or elsewhere on the website? Our process My team and I used the first workshop with the SYA team to gather their perspectives and understand what they saw as key challenges for delivering content to young audiences. We then went through our huge data bank of user research from the last two years, pulling out key user stories and journeys from our young families and school audiences. Over the last two years, we have amassed insights into how people use digital products on-site, and how they use our online platforms to plan their visits. This is a good time to note that doing user research in the Museum is extremely easy, in comparison to doing it in other industries. Our users are directly outside our offices and since most of them are on holiday, it is very likely that you can politely ask them for a bit of their time to test out a prototype or answer a few questions regarding their visit. This level of contact with our visitors is brilliant, and we feel confident that we know what works and what doesn’t work for them. After we worked through a few concepts and wireframes, we presented our work to the SYA team
via the second and third collaborative workshops. The structure for these sessions was mainly us presenting our user journeys and wireframes and then discussing what was working and what needed improvement. During these sessions, both primary and secondary school teachers were also invited to provide feedback and shed some light on how they would approach our website and carry out some of the key tasks. We found the participation of both the SYA team and the teachers to be extremely helpful in developing the user experience. We gathered new insights and tailored content in a way that made sense for teachers visiting our Museum. The act of designing any digital product for a particular built environment means that the approach would slightly vary between cultural institutions, thus making the experience feel entirely unique to the British Museum.
we created ‘audience portals’ which collate content relevant to specific audience types, including visiting families and visiting schools. Audience portals centralise content relevant to their on-site experience, including what to expect upon arrival, activities and facilities on offer. This is where we present teachers with an array of options for their school’s visit: on-site resources (like activity packs) and Museum-led sessions. Though the visual design of an audience portal is fairly straightforward, the real work is designing content in a way that presents information to teachers at the right time and with the right fidelity of detail. As the design team, we work hard with our content strategist to fine tune the information so that it is both accessible and informative for teachers. This is the case for how we design essential booking information
“The logistics of taking a large group of students from school to the Museum means that teachers must have everything mapped out with tight precision” One of the exciting moments from this engagement with the SYA team was when I received an email from a member of that team including some of their own sketched wireframes! These educators, with zero professional design experience, took it upon themselves to think creatively through user journeys and produce designs that reflected that. I was impressed that some teams in the Museum were starting to embrace new ways of working creatively. Some creative solutions One of our aims was to improve the onsite experience for our teachers, school groups and young audiences. Our research revealed that these audiences were more likely to pre-plan than any other visitor. The logistics of taking a large group of students from school to the Museum means that teachers must have everything mapped out with tight precision. In our new visiting section,
when teachers find an interesting Museum-led session on our website. At the moment, the process of booking a session with our ticketing office is not as efficient as it could be. The booking is made by the ticketing office, which is then passed on to the SYA team, who carry out the school sessions. Sometimes, though, information is lost somewhere along the chain, and in the end, the SYA team might not have all of the necessary information about the class prior to giving the lesson. By improving the display of the content, we hope that teachers will have an easier experience when booking their classes into our sessions. An easier solution to implement is the introduction of a filtering function for our online resources, in the hope of improving accessibility and usefulness. We collected user insights from teachers to help inform us how to make this filter most practical. Labelling each 39
resource with the appropriate key stage was useful, but adding the age range associated with each key stage meant that international audiences would be able to identity suitable content for their classrooms or children, as well. Through our user research, we found that filtering by calendar months wasn’t as useful as filtering by term dates. We also made the distinction that primary school teachers are more likely to filter by a specific cultural area like Ancient Egypt, while secondary school teachers are more likely to filter by a specific subject, like mathematics. Lastly, we had to tackle the ambiguous ‘adult learner’ category in the learning section. We first had to make the distinction between the courses offered through our further education programme and the ongoing lecture series, where learning is an explicit objective. We designed the
feel they know what is in the British Museum and will look at the school offerings on the website when they know that the British Museum has something that matches the national curriculum (i.e. Rome, Greece or Egypt). However, teachers were unaware of other offerings available to them and consequently would not look to the British Museum for subjects such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), financial or digital. All of the teachers were pleasantly surprised that the Museum did indeed have resources available for these subjects. One of the other important findings was the order of content on pages related to visiting the Museum. For all of the teachers, they would first need to decide if the British Museum was their preferred destination for their class. After deciding to come to the Museum,
“The effect of designing content better is that we - the British Museum - do not waste teachers’ extremely precious time” content in a way that improved visitors’ expectations of the learning objectives within the events calendar of the exhibitions and events section of the website. Also, we carried out an audit of all of the events that take place at the Museum and then made intelligent groupings of similar events. This provided website visitors with broader categories to begin searching for events that would be of interest to them. Evaluation In May 2017, we carried out an evaluation of our new proposed designs with a selection of London-based school teachers. The majority of them taught primary students, while one teacher was a special education teacher for 16-25 year olds (teaching primary school subjects). Our methodology included one-hour usability interviews focused on carrying out key tasks on the learning section of the website. The results revealed that teachers 40
they would want to investigate the Museum offerings that are available to them. This would include things like workshops on-site with British Museum staff members, visiting the Museum with their own resources or just looking for resources to use in the classroom. After deciding which offering makes the most sense for their class, they will then look at resources to support that offering. This methodical process for decision making meant that the positioning of content related to what is on offer needed more visibility on the page, before teachers have to delve into the logistics of bringing their class to the Museum. Both pieces of information are important, but the order that they are presented actually has a noticeable effect on the usability of the page. The effect of designing content better is that we, the British Museum, do not waste teachers’ extremely precious time.
Conclusion The learning section has come a long way since our initial kickoff meeting with the SYA team. Our aim was to empower teachers and young families with the tools needed to make informed decisions regarding the type of experience they want to have at the British Museum. For many of our preplanners, the British Museum website is the first touch point in their journey with us. If we can’t instil confidence that our Museum is the obvious choice for their visit, then we will likely lose out to other museums in Central London. And with an increasingly technology-savvy population, a userfriendly website will become even more of an imperative. User experience and design can help us reach to this aim. It puts people at the centre of the design process. We care deeply about what people say and how they feel about the goods and services that we, as the British Museum, provide. If every cultural institution keeps this empathetic mentality at the centre of their values, then every museum would see improved visitor experiences. There is a reason why technology companies, financial services and business consultants have recruited designers in record numbers over the last ten years to innovate in their workforces. Good design is good for business. Museums and other cultural institutions should take note, if they haven’t already. Now, I still continue to run late for my meetings (it really can’t be helped!) and I still look out to the hordes of students jammed against the glass to get a closer look at the mummies. I hope that we make a meaningful impact for them. I hope that the teachers have a seamless experience organising their trip with us. It would be great if the next project that I can work on here is improving crowd flow and wayfinding. I would have no more excuses for running late for meetings then. Oh, and I guess it would improve our visitors’ experiences with us, too. Kevin Bickham Lead Interaction Designer, The British Museum
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M+ Rover - A Case Study for Participatory Art in Museum Learning Winnie Lai on the transformative experiences produced at M+ Rover - a travelling creative studio and exhibition space that tours local secondary schools and community spaces in Hong Kong
Winnie Lai is Assistant Curator, Learning and Interpretation, at M+, Hong Kongâ€™s new museum for twentieth and twenty-first century visual culture at West Kowloon Cultural District, scheduled to open in 2019. Prior to joining M+, Winnie worked at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. She studied History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies and University College London, and holds a MA in History of Art and Visual Culture from the University of Oxford and and MA in Museum Studies from the University of Sydney. Winnie recently completed a 6-month curatorial attachment at Tate under their Public Programme team. Winnie was a speaker at Museum Ideas 2017.
Rover is a school and community outreach project launched by the Learning and Interpretation team at M+ in 2015. M+ is a new museum for 20th and 21st century visual culture scheduled to open in Hong Kong in 2020. It is part of the wider West Kowloon Cultural District, a large-scale arts and cultural development project at the Hong Kong harbour front. The M+ museum will house 17,000 square metres of exhibition spaces, a dedicated learning centre, cinemas, lecture halls and cinemas etc. While the construction of the museum building, designed by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog and de Meuron, is underway, we are at the same time building a collection and a team. Since 2012, the museum has amassed up to 6000 works in the collection, while the team has grown into a medium-size organisation.
A museum is not merely a physical building and the growing team decided to start programming despite not having a physical space. M+ launched a series of nomadic exhibitions in 2012 as a means to explore different way of exhibition-making before we have a permanent home. The series, Mobile M+, ranges from artist commissioning, collection showcase, outdoor installation to online exhibition. Alongside, we also host other programmes such as the symposium series, M+ Matters, and films screening programmes. In 2016, M+ Pavilion opened, giving us a temporary space for exhibition until we move into the actual museum building. With a diverse pre-opening programming to work with, the Learning and Interpretation team takes it as an opportunity to explore and experiment. We try to gauge an understanding of our potential audience and their knowledge about M+. We soon understand the challenges we face in this pre-opening period. The wider cultural district has been in discussion for over 10 years, while M+ is still a vague idea as it has yet to have a physical presence. At the same time, there is a lack of regularity in our pre-opening programming, and the diverse content makes it harder for audience to have a clear understanding of the future museum. Summarising the experience of programming for exhibitions, we realise the need to build connections and outreach through a more specific and regular approach. It is under this context that M+ Rover was developed. M+ Rover is a trailer converted into a moving creative travelling studio. It travels to schools and communities during the second school term from March to June. We envisioned it as a space for informal learning where people can simply rest and create; a flexible space where 43
“The element of participation is essential - it is a way for us to ensure that we are providing alternatives to the existing formal learning experience” workshops, exhibitions and other activities can take place. The idea of a rover comes from space expedition we want the participants to be curious, to explore and discover the unknown. We imagined M+ Rover as an alien, a transformer-like object, popping in schools and pockets of the city unexpectedly. Artist Kacey Wong gave form to this idea, covering the trailer with metallic sheets and submarine windows as openings. Using recycled pallets, he creates a contrastingly warmer interior with warm-hue light bulbs and a curved ceiling. He describes entering the M+ Rover as walking in to a whale’s stomach, a space that envelops you with its cozy atmosphere. Designer Milkshxke develops the branding and identity that frames the project, providing the essential infographics for us to communicate the complexity of the project with schools and public. Every year we invite artists to create a work that has elements of participatory practice. The artwork takes form as a workshop and an evolving exhibition. M+ Rover will enter each school for one to two days, where our team of artist assistants set up the work in school. A group of 44
about twenty-five students are invited to take part in a two-and-a-half-hour workshop lead by the artist. The results of the workshop contribute to the overall display on M+ Rover, which is open during the day for other students and teachers to visit. Over the weekend, M+ Rover travels to different community locations, where the public can visit to the pop-up exhibition. The group of students will then meet with the artist again in the community location through a second part of the workshop, where they can expand the experience and discussion they had in the first session. With an intention to introduce a variety of practice and ideas, we invite artists that work with different mediums and concepts every year. For the first year, Tang Kwok-hin created a performative piece. The work explores nature of truth and fiction as the students actively shape the course of the plot with clues and prompts. Siu Wai-hang looks at memory and disappearance in relation to history and identity through a photography workshop that centres its idea around the handover of Hong Kong. Comic writer and illustrator, Rainbow Leung, demonstrates the essence of drawing
in her practice as an act of listening and relationship-building through a chessboard game where participants have to interview and share stories about themselves as they draw portraits of each other. This year, Ng Ka-chun invites participants to think about our daily needs and alternative ways of living through redesigning objects in our daily life. While diverse in content, the element of participation is essential in all of them. It is a way for us to ensure that we are providing alternatives to the existing formal learning experience. Beside filling a gap, it also gives us the opportunity to break a number of preconceptions and boundaries about artistic practice in general. First, it breaks preconceptions about artists. The artist’s presence is key in the project. Every year we enter nearly thirty schools, ranging from the wellfunded and highly resourceful ones, to those that receive close to zero support in the arts discipline. The project allows students to get immediate access to artists by creating a space that brings them together, where they can simply talk and chat. The encounter is the most direct way to dispel any myths about artists, and give them a chance to ask the most practical questions that no parents or teachers can answer as honestly as any working artists: How do you survive and make a living as a fulltime artist? What do you actually do? How to enter the field? etc. To carve out time and space for the students to do so proves to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the project; as often, this is a rarity and luxury in the resultoriented educational and examination system, where the most essential are overlooked. Participatory practice also breaks preconceptions about creative medium. Understanding we are not bringing another classroom teaching on practical skills or theory, we place emphasis on the process as an artistic medium. The project only allows a short encounter between the team and the students at each school, which is between two to three days. We are neither there to criticise nor compete with the existing curriculum, but
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instead to complement and expand. Therefore, we make sure we are there to stimulate, to be provocative; to show them alternatives, and prompt them to rethink the unconsidered possibilities in their school work as well as life. We invite the artist to think along this line of disruption as they develop the work: how we can question conventions and inspire new imaginations in our students to the full extent in the brief encounters with M+ Rover. Lastly, it breaks preconceptions about exhibition modes. In the process of developing the work, we actively think about the role of the participants, what are the power-relations at play? What is the level of autonomy and democracy? Essentially, the project is about relationships and experience. It is important that it is about collaboration and co-authorship. The result is that the work is accumulative, taking shape as a pop-up exhibition that evolves as it travels from school to school. Both artists and students participate and contribute to the ever-changing and evolving show. The idea that an exhibition is not complete when it opens but only until its last day breaks the preconception of what our audience and students are used to think of exhibitions. At the same time, the mobility of M+ Rover allows us to reach out to different communities in the city. In the process, we hope to reach out to as much audience as possible. While ‘participatory’ seems to provide itself as a fitting solution to our cause, it also ruffles up a whole lot more questions than answers. This might seem frustrating at first, but it only serves to remind us that learning is a process that is ever-evolving. As we unravel the challenges at hand, we learn to not merely seek answers or solutions, but embrace the process of enquiry and exploration. The project has been an experiment for our team to try out what we can do in terms of museum informal learning before our museum opens in a few years’ time. The evaluation and assessing the programme are important and essential in our practice. As programme organisers, we are
“The project has been an experiment for our team to try out what we can do in terms of museum informal learning before our museum opens” often eager to think of assessing the result of a programme. However, the emphasis of the participatory - on collaboration, experience, relationship - means that the ‘results’ are often ephemeral and invisible. We find it inevitable to wonder, how do we measure the effect or results of our programme? How do make sure the participants gain something? How do we meet their expectation? How do we make sure that they have learnt? Do we have to? How to document and measure learning, or is it even possible? When thinking about the discourse of relational aesthetics, how self-reflective does the work set out to be? How better can we connect with communities, and what is our definition of communities? What are the social aspect of the work, is it an event, an exploration of interactions, or a host of dialogues? How to manage the level of uncertainty and fluidity in meaning, while ensuring a rewarding experience? As we turn viewers into participants, we invite them to be part of this creative process and explore these questions together with us. Actively think about evaluating the process, we sometimes wonder, did learning ever happen? This question, while provocative, seems to perfectly
summarise the constant reflection and evaluation process we go through as we programme. There is never a straight answer to all these - learning is, after all, a personal and internal process. Soon enough in the process, we realise with whom we are learning with and what lessons are there to be learnt for us as organisers. As we actively think about co-creation and shared authorship in the process, we are learning with the participants. While we think about the participants’ roles, and the level of autonomy in their participation, it becomes a constant reminder that learning cannot be forced. The most effective learning comes organically and naturally. Everyone’s need differs, thus, to attempt to cater for everyone is nearly impossible and might result in unnecessary compromises. It is about creating the best conditions and setting for the encounter to happen, where participants can decide what they take from the scenario. When the participants realise they have a part and a role in the process, they felt empowered in a way that they start to take initiates in shaping the work. As a result, the learning becomes specific to the individuals. 47
“Transformative experience cannot be staged. What we do is create the setting and space for an unexpected encounter to happen” Another goal of the project is to build long-term relationships with teachers and schools. We would like to establish the museum as a resource for the teachers. Thus, along with the programme, we create teaching materials and held teaches’ briefings. We make sure that we maintain a continuous communication with them throughout the process and through post-workshop evaluation sessions. These dialogues help us better understand their expectations and overall experience, and as a result, contribute to the shaping of our programme in the following years. For example, the optional pre-workshop sessions are developed as a result from the first year’s evaluation, commenting on a need to provide background information on participatory art practices in general. We continue to do such meet-ups with the participating teachers and educators that we work with in order to maintain relationships where we can learn and grow together. At the same time, we are learning with the frontline team. Our frontline team of artist assistants are responsible for setting up the exhibition every day at schools, maintaining the 48
condition of the works, assisting and documenting during the workshops, and leading tours about the project to visitors. Most importantly, they are the main participants to the project, the only witnesses to the work that evolved from beginning to end. They are often the first to experience the work, sometimes, still at its development process where they can provide feedbacks. We also provide training and meet-the-artist sessions before M+ enters schools. Working closely with the artist, they became the closest to the work. As one of the most important participants, they can contribute and shape the work with the artists and the school participants. At the same time, what we found as a result is a sense of community among the group who are often fresh graduates. With the project, we create a time and space where they can get to know the artists and the team at M+, and also for them to gain more knowledge about working in the arts field. Lastly, the team worked closely and learnt immensely with the artist in the process. The unique nature of M+ Rover is that it defies definition sitting between a workshop, exhibition
and an artwork. There are not many artists in Hong Kong that are actively engaged with participatory work as their main practice. Throughout the process as we develop the work, we delve into the artist’s practice and philosophies. As the project pushes them to examine their practice, it also pushes us to do the same on our end, to rethink our practice as curators. In the process we have to consider a number of conflicting ideas: How do we manage different, at times conflicting, priorities and expectations - of the artist’s, the school’s and ours? As a result, the work has to be rehearsed and rethought, scraped and redeveloped. The process is bound to be painful. It is through such intense process that both the team and artists felt the work is complete and unique for its context. It also requires honesty and trust between the team and the artists, giving us a valuable chance to build understanding and trusting relationships with the artists. As a takeaway of our team’s experience, we learnt to remind ourselves that it is about understanding those we learn and grow with and knowing where these events of learning and exchanges take place, rather than seeking a measure or indicator of success. Ultimately, the process of learning is ongoing and invisible; and sometimes, it requires a level of faith and trust as much as the careful planning and organisation we put in. It is a reminder for us to learn to let go of this need and urgency to look for a result or success. Instead, we learn to embrace a level of unknown and uncertainty. Transformative experience cannot be staged. What we do is create the setting and space for an unexpected encounter to happen, where interaction and conversation take place and where important relationships are formed. That is when the magic of learning happens - much like planting a seed in anticipation of its growth - with equal measures of care and hope, we continue to imagine the many forms it can take shape. Winnie Lai Assistant Curator, Learning and Interpretation, M+, Hong Kong
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The Blood, Sweat and Paper Cuts of a Participatory Space Joanna Salter on how the RE·THINK project at the National Maritime Museum is paving the way for a democratic approach to interpretation and interaction with visitors. The digital transformation of RE·THINK will now weave visitors voices throughout the National Maritime Museum, integrate them into the Museum’s narrative and store opinions and contributions as an ongoing live consultation Joanna Salter is Senior Manager: Participation, for the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. She has a degree in Fine Art from Middlesex University, an MA in Fine Art from St. Martin’s, and a post-grad diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learner Sector. Joanna has worked in the museum sector for 17 years with varied roles in education, digital and participation.
e live in a time when we expect and desire to have our opinions, views and experiences shared and listened to. The world is listening; we are constantly on show and in the spotlight of our own social circles or the wider world. So what does this mean for museums? RETHINK at the National Maritime Museum created a platform for visitors and staff to have their say and sometimes leave very personal reflections in a public space. Its was a learning curve for staff and visitors alike. Unusually for a participatory space, the gallery was significant in its footprint and its development was led by the Learning and Interpretation Department. Such departments are more used to a tagged on, discrete area for feedback and engagement. Visitors were invited into a drop-in gallery space to respond to a theme from the Museum’s master narrative, the theme was refreshed every 6
months. A participation framework was created including comments cards, a voting interactive, handling collection, make and do paper activities, markmaking wall and touch screen research. A programme of events around each topic and a varied practitioner/artistic residency programme brought each theme to life. Maria Amidu (Ship in a Bottle) involved visitors with participatory artworks, Tamsin Relly (Environment) hosted printmaking workshops, Karen McCarthy Woolf and Sophie Herxheimer (Migration) published a book with writings and drawings from the residency. Bethan Peters, Choreographer (Exploration) produced a film installation from a touring dance piece and Paddy Hartley (Navy) added to existing research and produced a new body of textile and ceramic work, currently on display at the Museum; inserting contemporary artworks into historical displays. We weren’t entirely sure how it 51
The National Maritime Museum took time to reassess the handling collection cabinets as feedback from the volunteers indicated that visitors were too ‘shy’ to ask them to open up the cabinets. They made them more inviting through graphics and illustration and refreshed volunteer’s training © Royal Museums Greenwich
would turn out and we needed to constantly remind ourselves that it was an evolving and experimental space. We do know, from our evaluation report, that “…the space has delivered a more contemporary interpretation of the Museum’s themes and by acting on audience responses it has ‘listened’, and improved the space iteratively with each display”. When receiving feedback such as “this is just a place for school groups” (RE·THINK Ship in a Bottle, July 2014) we reacted by ensuring following displays confronted contemporary issues. “…it’s great to see museums tackling contemporary issues. The story has changed in last few weeks, the language is no longer about migrants, it’s about refugees….” (RE·THINK Migration visitor, September 2015) We took time to reassess the handling collection cabinets as feedback from the volunteers told us that visitors were too ‘shy’ to ask them to open up the cabinets. We made them more inviting through graphics and illustration and refreshed the volunteer’s training: “We really need to bring children to museums like this where you can touch things. There’s the Internet but it’s nothing like this.” (RE·THINK visitor, February 2015) The space also delivered on a key 52
part of RMG’s mission statement: to be brave, coherent, passionate and collaborative. It was brave to allow easy access to whiteboard markers and invite visitors to effectively draw on the walls; made more challenging on occasion when markers were replenished with permanent pens by mistake. It was risky to give people free-reign and respond openly and publicly to challenging issues but in general visitors to the gallery were respectful and enjoyed the freedom. The projects, and participant responses, associated with the space have also informed the Museum’s Community Engagement Strategy for increasing local, C2DE and BAME audiences by being a space that feels relevant (contemporary) and family friendly due to a dedicated space for making/participatory activities. So what next… The physical space was always intended as a temporary installation and is now closed. The learning is being fed into an exciting suite of galleries in the Museum’s new wing, opening in September 2018. RETHINK will evolve as a digital data collection and visualisation tool, continuing to gather opinion and examine the behaviour of its visitors. The RETHINK concept
will be integrated throughout the new galleries and beyond – connecting to new interactive and participatory experiences across RMG. Data will continue to be gathered and harnessed in a content management system which staff will be able to analyse and utilise to inform exhibitions and programmes. The visitors’ participation will be reflected in a social space, a screen will project graphics and visuals in a magazine format displaying the interactions, comments and responses from interactives at regular intervals. Displaying the data is fundamental. We felt from the outset that if the Museum was asking for opinion and emotive responses we needed to project this back in a public setting, to ensure that the Museum was listening. The Museum should be transparent and respectful in its harnessing of visitor feedback and opinion, therefore the tool should be collaborative, not an archive with discreet access. We are entering a dynamic new phase which will make the results of participatory activities throughout the Museum meaningful, transparent and responsible for cultural change and the democratisation of displays, exhibitions and programmes. On RE·THINK Migration Sara
Public institutions have a duty to democratise collections which are essentially owned by the public. Museum workers are the ‘carers’ - the welcoming gate-keepers of the collection - or at least they should be © Royal Museums Greenwich
“I’ve worked at the museum for over 5 years and until I walked around RE·THINK Migration I’d never seen myself represented before. I’d never seen the story of my family’s experience reflected in the displays and I found it very moving to finally see the story of people like me told in a voice I recognised. It felt like progress” Sara Wajid, Head of Engagement, Museum of London, and founder of Museum Detox
Wajid, Head of Engagement, Museum of London, and founder of Museum Detox, commented: “I’ve worked at the museum for over 5 years and until I walked around RE·THINK Migration I’d never seen myself represented before. I’d never seen the story of my family’s experience reflected in the displays and I found it very moving to finally see the story of people like me told in a voice I recognised. It felt like progress.” Similarly, a visitor recorded comment on the same theme said “The quotes on the walls are great. They resonate with us…” We hope RE·THINK will ‘resonate’ throughout the Museum and indeed the wider sector. The significance of storing and using the data collected by our visitors is vital to their sense of ownership. As Chris Michaels, Digital Director of the National Gallery, commented: ‘…in a world run from data, the more data you have, the more powerful the change you can bring. This means that our sector might learn more, faster, if we work together to bring change.’ Public institutions have a duty to democratise collections which
are essentially owned by the public. Museum workers are the ‘carers’, the welcoming gate-keepers of the collection - or at least they should be. With this tool, we have the opportunity to really break down the conventional barriers of traditionally impenetrable organisations. More often than not, the public are the experts. The people who have themselves cared for an object handed down through generations, who are able to give curators a new perspective on their interpretation. Spoken in the context of the economy of museums, this relates to the many transactions which are made upon someone entering the building. RE·THINK will ask questions, gather opinion and share the results. Relaying information and the dissemination of learning is essential, the Museum is assumed to be the expert but we the public expect more. We expect to be able to stand next to a figurehead, take a selfie and share it with the world. We expect to Tweet an opinion and have it retweeted, we want to reach maximum likes on our Instagram post. Everyone’s heart skips a beat when your view of
the world or ingeniously captured image is appreciated and ‘liked’. The Museum itself can become this platform and should respond to those interactions in the same way. Gone are the days of a comment card box being acceptable – scribbling feedback on a notecard and posting it into the void of sealed box marked ‘visitor feedback’. That’s not to say analogue responses are redundant but the method of sharing and valuably using this data should be robust. Change usually happens gradually in a museum context, there is still more work to be done, but RE·THINK at the National Maritime Museum is paving the way for a democratic approach to interpretation and interaction with our visitors. The digital transformation of RE·THINK will weave visitors voices throughout the Museum, integrate them into the Museum’s narrative and store opinions and contributions as ongoing live consultation. Joanna Salter Senior Manager: Participation, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich 55
Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge has been subtly transformed by Jamie Fobert Architects in a two-year £11m extension and development © Hufton+Crow
ettle’s Yard in Cambridge has been subtly transformed by Jamie Fobert Architects in a two-year £11m extension and development. The long-awaited project opened to the public in February 2018. Carefully conceived to complement and enhance the qualities of the original House occupied by the creator of Kettle’s Yard, Jim Ede (1895-1990), the development includes major new exhibition galleries, generous education spaces, a cafe and new welcome areas, placing Kettle’s Yard back on the map as one of the best loved, most influential centres for contemporary and modern art outside London. The redevelopment has been made possible by £3.65m from Arts Council England and £2.32m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. With the reopening, Kettle’s Yard’s renowned programmes for young people has been expanded, benefitting from the new learning spaces at the heart of the development. The new spaces, including the Clore Learning Studio, increase the capacity for learning activities by 200%. 56
A Research Space, open to all, enables academic research and artists community engagement, utilising the collection and remarkable archive. Kettle’s Yard has a unique history. Developed from the personal passion of curator and collector, Jim Ede, it began life in 1957 when he opened the doors of his house every afternoon for people to view his collection. In the 1920s and 30s he had been a curator at the Tate Gallery in London and thanks to his friendships with artists he gathered a remarkable collection of works by Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Christopher Wood, David Jones and Joan Miró, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth amongst others. In 1966, he gave the House and its contents to the University of Cambridge.. In 1970, three years before Jim and his wife Helen retired to Edinburgh, the House was extended and an exhibition gallery added, both to the design of the architects Sir Leslie Martin and David Owers. Ede’s vision was for “A living place
Kettleâ€™s Yard, Cambridge The groundbreaking home-turned-gallery has been subtly transformed by a carefully conceived and delightful extension and development
Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge has been subtly transformed by Jamie Fobert Architects in a two-year £11m extension and development © Hufton+Crow
“It’s not just about encouraging people to come to a museum. We want to reinvent the notion of what a museum and gallery can be, and do”
where works of art could be enjoyed… where young people could be at home unhampered by the greater austerity of the museum or public art gallery.” Now, between the 1970 galleries and the façade of Castle Street, two new galleries and an education suite have been configured, continuing the meandering journey that begins in the cottages and moves through Sir Leslie Martin and David Owers’ extension. The present and future needs of Kettle’s Yard are met with much-needed new contemporary gallery spaces and new spaces for art education. A new glass entrance area, framed in bronze has been inserted into the entry courtyard, which allows movement between the galleries, the house and a new café located where offices had once been. With the completion of this new development Kettle’s Yard is enabled to reach its true potential as a world-class centre for engaging with modern and contemporary art in the 21st century. Andrew Nairne, Director, Kettle’s Yard, said: “This is a proud moment for all of us. It’s not just about encouraging people to come to a museum. We want to reinvent the notion of what a museum and gallery can be, and do. I believe Kettle’s
Yard, with its remarkable collection and vibrant connections with artists of today, can be a beacon for the next generation.” Jamie Fobert, architect, said: “Jim Ede in his wonderful book, ‘Kettle’s Yard, A Way of Life’, said: “It starts from the cottage, with a couple of generously wide steps down … and continues … into the very large and comfortably proportioned new building, which itself develops in easy and individual stages.” I read this quote when we first started to work on Kettle’s Yard and it has remained a guiding principle in our work. To add onto Leslie Martin and David Owers’ beautiful 1970s extension has been both a privilege and a great responsibility. My hope is that our new spaces will feel like a seamless and easy continuation of the Kettle’s Yard we all love.” Kettles Yard is part of the consortium of the University of Cambridge Museums, which also includes the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Museum of Zoology, the Museum of Classical Archeology, Whipple Museum of History of Science, the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, the Polar Museum and the Botanic Garden.
“Delivering the undeliverable” Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre, Kuwait City How do you successfully deliver the world’s largest museum complex in one single phase? Discover how this landmark project was completed on time and on budget 61
Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre - 4 museums, 22 galleries on a 18 hectare site, a scale unrivalled in the museum sector to date “The project was intended not only to exceed the expectations of local visitors but also to welcome and inspire an international audience”
he Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre (SAASCC) is situated adjacent to the Arabian Gulf in Kuwait City. This astonishing project consists of six main components on the 18-hectare site: The Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Space Museum, Arabic Islamic Science Museum, Fine Arts Centre and the external spaces known as the Public Realm. The vision of HH The Emir, the project was administered by the Amiri Diwan who appointed Kuwaiti Architects SSH to design and engineer the building envelopes and components, which are seamlessly connected through glazed wings and a sweeping canopy acting as the central spine of the cultural centre. Alghanim International, a highly regarded local main contractor, were appointed as the builders, tasked with constructing the museum envelopes and undertaking the extensive sitewide landscaping. London-based Cultural Innovations developed the visitor experience design. Whilst designed to meet the Kuwaiti educational curriculum, the project was intended not only to exceed the expectations of local visitors but also to welcome and inspire an international audience. Exhibits at SAASCC cover the entire spectrum of history, science, space and culture, making the project a truly world-class destination. The project forms the major part of Kuwait’s new national cultural district. The district is a celebration of the scientific and cultural achievements of mankind, and the scale and shapes of the buildings are designed to convey a sense of wonder and awe. With a combination of internal and external exhibitory, sensory displays and lighting, SAASCC is accessible to visitors day and night. This remarkable project has some impressive statistics to match; not least the incredible team assembled to develop, produce, deliver and install the entire project. An unprecedented number of specialists from all over the world working day and night were required to successfully deliver this one-off project. Although many international specialists were drafted in, the project had a distinctly British feel due to the appointed exhibition fit-out contractor and construction manager, BECK. In addition to the extraordinary task in hand, during the prefabrication and installation, every exhibit and component had to be inspected, and approved for accuracy, in line with the tender drawings and specification. This huge task was the responsibility of UK based Design PM, who were appointed by SSH for their unique specialist knowledge of the museum sector. 63
Natural History Museum Making up eight of the galleries across the complex, the Natural History Museum (NHM) covers themes including Prehistoric Life, Ecosystems, The Earth and Environment, Biodiversity, Nature, and Arabian Wildlife and Geography. Each individual museum has its own iconic elements which required multiple specialist teams to be carefully coordinated. Within the NHM galleries is a South East Asian rain forest with a combination of living trees and plants interspersed with faux, overlooking a 1.4 million litre aquarium stocked with live species. The 6m x 6m concave end retaining panel together with the side viewing panels weigh over 65 tons providing a full underwater panorama of the aquarium. The Prehistoric Life gallery includes over 30 full size prehistoric creatures both skeletal and full bodied; All fabricated to a highly realistic level of detail, supported by leading palaeontologists and National Geographic. Each museum has a glass clad wing protruding from the end, allowing visitors a glimpse of the exhibits in the evening from the external Public Realm areas. The Prehistoric Life wing includes an impressive 17-metrelong prehistoric whale suspended above four striking displays of giant beasts from the distant past.
Science Museum The ten diverse galleries that make up the Science Museum take the visitor on a remarkable journey through Transport, Experiments, the Human Mind and Body, Robotics, Natural Defences and Innovation. One of the highlights is the 20 seat 4D dark ride experience suspended from the mezzanine floor which takes visitors on an adventure inside the human body. The 3D projection accompanied by motion base technology is one of the must-see elements of this museum. The Transport gallery houses over 200 historical and contemporary vehicles from full scale planes, boats and cars suspended from the roof structure, to full size replicas of the Bluebird and Bloodhound speed record vehicles and the Red Bull Stratos capsule. The technical installation methodology, coordination and structural challenges were significant within this gallery. At the introduction to the Robotics gallery, visitors are met by a 3-metre-tall animatronic host robot who explains the interactive journey they are about to embark upon. Fully immersive and interactive galleries such as Experiment and Innovate also provided some of the most complex interactivity. These hands-on experiences needed to meet international standards, meet the school curriculum and in some instances meet culturally sensitive requirements. Prototyped, developed, rigorously tested and installed in just 12 months, each museum, and each gallery had its own stringent development deadline programme challenges to overcome. 67
Space Museum The Space Museum with four galleries and a 110-seat planetarium creates a futuristic museum exploring topics from the Big Bang to space travel, and our place in the solar system. At the centre, the planetarium was designed and built as part of the exhibition fit-out including the structural development and engineering for it to traverse the ground and mezzanine floors. Amongst the various space vehicles, communication devices, satellites, space telescopes and planets suspended within the gallery, sits a fully replicated recreation of the International Space Station (ISS) which engulfs the entire gallery. At over 50 metres long, the ISS creates its own gallery on the mezzanine floor where visitors can gain a sense of living in space. Back on the ground, visitors are invited to drive the Mars Rover and explore the solar system and hidden galaxies. For younger visitors, the Space Academy gallery provides children with the opportunity to experience first-hand some of the exciting training exercises and tasks carried out by astronauts. The Space Museum explores both the historic achievements of the various space agencies around the world and provides a thought provoking glimpse of what the future may hold. Invaluable support from the European Space Agency and others made the project research and development for the Space Museum accurate and efficient. 69
Arabic Islamic Science Museum This museum is dedicated to the influences of Arabic scholars and inventors over history, and explores how and why Islamic civilisation, and particularly the arts and sciences, flourished through the 8th to 14th century. The space is more traditional and evokes contemplation. Suspended above a map of the Middle East region hang five scale models of some of the most iconic mosques across the world highlighting their unique architecture. Visitors can get a close-up view of some of the world’s most ornate and influential mosques and see their intricate detail. Visitors can explore the wonders of Arabic influences on today’s modern world, key inventions such as the camera obscura and Al-Jazari clocks can be discovered in the interactive library and multi touch displays allow the visitor to identify key inventions, how they have developed and still play a part in today’s society. First hand accounts of influential inventors, scholars and explorers such as Abbas Ibn Firnas and Ibn Battuta, their trade routes, explorations and legacies are followed within the museum. Mixed media is used to engage all visitors leaving them with a sense of pride and ambition. For younger visitors, classrooms, design and interactive spaces allow them to design buildings, retrace historic trading routes and try their hand at trading in local markets. 71
Public Realm Externally around the museum, nestled within the Public Realm are a combination of sensory exhibits that use the natural elements to provide visitors a place to gather and relax in the cooler evenings. A range of light, wind and sound displays, along with water play areas, provide the perfect end to a busy day visiting the museums. Placed along the central spine are giant sculptures providing additional artistic interpretations of the museums. In addition to the public realm exhibitory, each museum has an iconic feature representing the subject matter of that particular museum; this acts as an immediate orientation aid for the visitors. At night the clever architecture and lighting allow visitors to gain a glimpse of the internal galleries beyond their facades.
SAASCC - a project of this magnitude demands statistics to match: • The exhibition design, research, production and installation, including an inauguration ceremony by HH The Emir and the full public opening was completed in a head spinning 27 months • The four museums and Public Realm sit on an 18-hectare site with 22 galleries and over 900 individual exhibits • Uniquely the entire collection of over 2000 artefacts and objects across the site were replicated with over 25 specialist model makers and a team of prop purchasers • In addition to the main exhibition contractor tasked with procuring, managing and programming the team through to completion, the work involved 65 specialist sub-contractors from five continents, clocking up more than 1.5million working hours to complete the project • At the height of the project, over 3,000 people were manufacturing the exhibits off site whilst a 5,000 strong team on site were building the museums • The museums feature over 350 audio visual display exhibits requiring more than 23 miles of data cabling • The museums contain over 100 audio visual racks seamlessly controlling the shows, displays and interactives • The team clocked up an incredible 3000 flights during the project lifes plan • Over 350 containers shipped in the exhibits from all over the world, including the giant acrylic panels, 60ft prehistoric whale and full-size rain forest trees • The project scale and geographical spread was such that the team had to meet the challenge of providing progress updates to the client team from all over the world. The exhibition fit out contractor designed and developed its own web app (SAASCC live) to provide constant updates through images, video, time-lapse sequences and blogs from each of the specialists
BECK - perhaps the most obvious name to be associated with “delivering the undeliverable”
he delivery of Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre could not have been achieved without the fantastic support of the client - Amiri Diwan and the hundreds of team members from across the globe. Every trade from setworks, interactives and showcases to audio visual hardware integration, multimedia and film production, lighting and graphics along with hundreds of model makers, scenic artists, sculptors, metalworkers and aquarium suppliers made the impossible, possible. A cultural project of this scale has never been attempted before, and although a considerable challenge for the team at BECK, their historical experience and previously completed complex international projects were all contributing factors to the success. Following an international tender including companies from the UK, USA, Europe and the Middle East, BECK were appointed by the Amiri Diwan as the exhibition fit out contractor for this amazing project. Working in conjunction with local contractor Alghanim International who were also responsible for the main building construction, the task was set to develop the design, build and deliver this mammoth project on time and to a single set budget. Whilst the overall project statistics speak volumes about the sheer scale of the task that faced the team, the individual statistics required to deliver the cultural centre are astounding. The BECK team carefully managed and navigated the project from commencement through
“A project of this scale is unrivalled in the museum sector to date, the simultaneous fabrication and installation of four entire museums” to a successful conclusion on time and to the budget set out at contract signing. The logistical challenges that the project presented, from the complexities of administering the Kuwaiti contract through to the shipment of over 350 containers from all over the world, was considerable for the 45 strong BECK management team. A project of this scale is unrivalled in the museum sector to date; the simultaneous fabrication and installation of four entire museums.
What an achievement……. Although there were many international specialist and suppliers, BECK’s contribution and commitment to utilising UK specialists is self-evident with over £50 million of the project being contracted to UK companies. On the following pages are listed most of the key UK specialists that BECK can not thank enough for their efforts, commitment and quality to “deliver the seemingly undeliverable”. BECK Victory House, Cox Lane Chessington, Surrey KT9 1SG United Kingdom E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +44 (0) 20 8974 0500 73
BECK in partnership with Alghanim International would like to thank these UK-based, world-class subcontractors, specialists and suppliers: Atlas AV International provider of award winning audio-visual solutions - where ambitious objectives meet skill and precision. E: email@example.com T: +44 (0)1792 891224 www.atlasav.com
Cultural Innovations Providing planning, content development, interpretation and exhibition and graphic design for all aspects of museums. E: firstname.lastname@example.org P: +44 20 7731 4396 www.culturalinnovations.com
AVS Collaborative design and manufacture of sheetmetal, monitor housings, AV racks and mounts for museums and visitors centres worldwide. E: email@example.com T: +44 (0)1622 685117 www.avsltd.net
Curvature Group Agile and highly respected modelmaking company - makes small product modelsup to full size mock-ups. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +44 (0)1296 663266 www.curvaturegroup.co.uk
Centre Screen Telling stories on every kind and size of screen - from smartphones to theatrical installations, tablets to touch-tables and web films to colossal 4D experiences. E: email@example.com T: +44 (0)161 832 7151 www.centrescreen.co.uk
DesignPM Specialist project management company for museums and visitor attractions. E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.designpm.co.uk
ClickNetherfield Global museum showcase design and manufacturing company with world-class technical capabilities and project management skills. E: email@example.com T: +44 (0)1506 835200 www.clicknetherfield.com
D J Willrich Audio-visual consultants and systems integrators for museums, heritage sites and theme parks. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +44 (0)1590 612603 www.djwillrich.com
Crawley Creatures Bespoke solutions in animatronics and models for museums, TV and film, and entertainment industries. Est. 1986. E: email@example.com T: +44 (0)1280 815300 www.crawley-creatures.com
Electrosonic Design, build, and support innovative technology solutions that create experiences for people to live, work and play. E: info@@electrosonic.com T: +44 (0)1322 643081 www.electrosonic.com
Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre - subcontractors, specialists and suppliers Helix 3d With extensive experience across TV, film, events and PR, they provide creative inspiration and problem solving for agencies and production companies. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +44 (0)20 8311 4477 www.helix3d.co.uk
Newangle Productions Digital storytellers for dynamic visitor experiences - transforming stories into compelling encounters for new audiences. E: email@example.com T: +44(0)207 916 0106 www.newangle.co.uk
Inside Culture Middle East UAE-based consultancy providing strategic planning and management to museum clients and design teams. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +971 50 6702999 or + 44 (0)7775 537499
Protosheet Engineering Bespoke sheet metal fabricators, bringing designs to life. From design concept to installation. E: email@example.com P: +44 (0)1322 550545 www.protosheet.co.uk
InteractUn Limited Design, build, install and service robust, educational, interactive exhibits for museums and visitor centres globally. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +44 (0)7941 649512 www.interactunltd.com
SI Electrical Specialise in Museums & Cultural Centres working throughout the UK, the world, in particular the Middle East. Est. 1997. E: email@example.com T: +44 (0)20 8694 5250 www.si-electrical.com
Leach Inspire Combining unique industry experience with exciting and innovative graphic production and display techniques to produce inspirational visitor environments. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +44 (0)7917 371280 www.leachinspire.com
The Hub Delivering high quality museum projects. Collaborative approach ensures that the client expectations are always met. E: email@example.com T: +44 (0) 1527 830950 www.thehublimited.co.uk
Mastermodels Designers and modelmakers producing superbly detailed models, replicas, dioramas and interactives for museums internationally. E: firstname.lastname@example.org,uk T: +44 (0)1753 681234 www.mastermodels.co.uk
Universal Fibre Optics UFO design, manufacture and install lighting systems for prestigious projects around the world. E: email@example.com T: +44 (0)1890 883416 www.fibreopticlighting.com 75
newangle Audiovisual & Interactive Experiences
Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre, Arabic Islamic Science Museum Legacy of the Golden Age, a 16-user interactive table activated by RFID tokens
t: 0207 916 0106 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.newangle.co.uk
We specialise in providing lighting and electrical installations for Museums, Visitors Centres and Permanent Exhibitions in the UK and internationally, working with both Main Contractors and Clients directly
SI Electrical Ltd
Studio B 6 Little Thames Walk London, SE8 3FB T: 020 8694 5250 E:email@example.com
electrics | lighting | service 79
Naaonal Army Museum
GLOBAL AUDIO VISUAL INTEGRATION visit our new website www.atlasav.com
Mullple Cultural Projects
Energy Science Center
The Royal Mint Experience
CLICKNETHERFIELD PRESENTS: LUI HAISU ART MUSEUM, SHANGHAI
By Appointment to HM the Queen Display Case Suppliers Click Netherfield Limited
T +44 (0) 1506 835200 E firstname.lastname@example.org www.clicknetherfield.com
Design by Redman Design. Photography by The Hub
The Hub are honoured to be have been part of the team that delivered the globally significant International Bomber Command Centre and the many other projects around Great Britain and Northern Ireland that remember and commemorate the fallen, the families they left behind and all of those that served. Lest we forget. International Bomber Command Centre, Lincoln National Army Museum, Chelsea Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes HMS Caroline, Belfast Voices of War, Birmingham Royal Green Jackets Museum, Winchester First World War in the Air, Collindale and Cosford
Innovation Accelerator: Empowering Change and Challenging Perceptions Tui Te Hau on the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa’s Innovation Accelerator - part of a growing trend in museums to partner with industry and entrepreneurs to fast track innovation Tui Te Hau is Innovation Hub Manager for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The start-up community is the grassroots of innovation in any city and Tui has been involved in Wellington’s innovation eco-system since its beginning. For almost two years, she has been leading Mahuki – Te Papa’s innovation accelerator. Tui’s background includes working for NZTE where she headed up the Maori Enterprise Team supporting major primary exporters into offshore markets. She went on to be New Zealand Trade Commissioner based in Melbourne and on her return to New Zealand headed up NZTE’s exporter education programme. Tui then spent over a decade working with start-ups and headed up Wellington’s Fashion HQ business incubator and was the former Chief Executive of Creative HQ. Tui was responsible for the establishment of the Lightning Lab, New Zealand’s business acceleration programme.
ince its inception, Te Papa has offered a bold, innovative experience and challenged expectations of what a museum and art gallery can be. This global leadership was reinforced with the launch of Mahuki, the world’s first innovation accelerator for the cultural sector. Mahuki is a Maori word that means perception and the wellspring of inspiration. It epitomises the need for vision and to see beyond the existing and usual in order to innovate successfully. The purpose of Mahuki is to support the development of innovation solutions for the global culture and heritage sector. Backed by Te Papa Tongarewa, it is located in a purpose built facility in New Zealand’s National Museum. Mahuki is part of a growing trend amongst museums to partner with industry and entrepreneurs in order to fast track innovation and adapt to a dynamic and increasingly digital world. Our bold goal for Mahuki is to provide innovation leadership and support to the global culture and heritage sector and to unleash the assets of New Zealand’s national museum to contribute to New Zealand’s future social, cultural and economic prosperity. Mahuki Overview Mahuki comprises three work streams; an accelerator programme (our core programme), graduate programme and tertiary / outreach engagement. The accelerator supports up to 10 start-up teams who are based on site for 4 months to develop and validate their proposed solution for the cultural sector by supporting them to validate their market opportunity, build early product versions, win initial customers and prepare them to secure external funding.
Mahuki provides $20,000 to each team to enable them to focus their time and effort on the programme to accelerate their activities. This funding also helps us attract a diverse range of teams that reflect the diversity of New Zealand. In exchange for the value of the programme, Te Papa has an option to take 6% equity in the teams. Over time this could contribute to the sustainability of the programme. Our graduate programme continues to support the most promising ideas / teams from the accelerator programme. The outreach programme is where we run a series of short duration innovation events with tertiary students, the entrepreneurial community and special interest groups. It also encompasses an active intern placement programme and in-depth research. Our outreach programme helps us to identify future talent to participate in our accelerator programme. The cost of the entire Mahuki programme is offset by sponsorship raised. In addition, the physical space has enabled Te Papa to earn additional revenue through commercial hire in the accelerator programme downtime. How we set up Mahuki Te Papa considered a range of models prior to setting up the Mahuki programme. This included business incubation, an in-house innovation unit and co-working. We also undertook extensive market validation with over 300 entities in the innovation and start-up eco-system throughout New Zealand to understand the market landscape and need. This included contracted research and workshops with other NZ and international accelerator / incubator programmes. Based on this research we determined that despite the number of general 83
accelerator programmes operating in NZ our goals would be best met by a dedicated programme committed to generating sustainable outcomes in our sector. Challenge Areas When we talk to entrepreneurs about the opportunities in the culture and heritage sector we emphasise our interest in experience and enterprise solutions. Innovation that will help us tell our stories in new and exciting ways and others that will help us run our businesses more efficiently. The experience opportunities include gaming, animation, virtual reality, mobile design and 3D modelling. Enterprise solutions are significant and include content management, digital storage and surfacing, ticketing, insights and analytics, collection inventory and storage and so on. There are also opportunities in the learning innovation space as museums and libraries in particular are playing a greater role in the delivery of educational content. During our market research we identified that many entrepreneurs were building solutions for small problems or problems that didn’t exist. Given this, and our desire to inform entrepreneurs about the challenges / opportunities in the culture and heritage sector, we issued a list of challenges and asked teams to identify how they addressed one or more of these. Our initial twelve challenges were: 1. Create new museum experiences - How can we use new technology to create brand new experiences that bring our collections alive? 2. Create personal visitor experiences - How can we use innovation to tailor the experience to different individuals? 3. Reflect our increasingly diverse society - How can innovation and creativity help us to reflect our diverse society in new ways? 4. Create innovative connections 84
“Innovation that will help us tell our stories in new and exciting ways and others that will help us run our businesses more efficiently”
to support learning - How can we help connect schools and tertiary institutions with the curatorial and scientific work we do so that New Zealand’s biodiversity is more accessible to students and all the public? 5. Inspire young people in science and technology - How can we connect young people with the expertise, knowledge and collections of Te Papa to inspire young New Zealanders, especially girls and Maori and Pasifika, to engage more deeply in science and technology. 6. Achieve a “create once, publish everywhere” approach to content delivery - How can Te Papa streamline its content creation and publish it in a central location that allows that content to feed into all the formats we use, including audio guides, wall labels, social media, interactive digital displays, apps, web page content, books, etc? 7. Create a virtual Te Papa - How can we build a virtual Te Papa experience for New Zealanders living outside Wellington? 8. Connect Maori with taonga (treasures) - How can Te Papa connect iwi, hapu and whanau (indigenous communities) with taonga, tangibly or intangibly, to revitalise culture and heritage as well as support collaboration and reconciliation? 9. Support artists and enable creative responses - How can we utilise new technologies to support creative responses from artists and visitors
both inside and outside of the gallery experience? How might this be used as a template by other museums/galleries and the education sector? 10. Share our collections in a virtual world - How can we make our data, research, collections available in a virtual world to support learning, sharing of knowledge, and access to our content and collections in new ways (e.g. 3D visualization and printing, etc.), and do so in a user-friendly and scalable way? 11. Enrich the museum experience for less mobile, hearing or visually impaired people - How can we use innovations in technology to deliver a full sensory experience for these visitors? 12. Increase visitor access to museum content - How can we create new and relevant ways for visitors to access the content and interpretations of our science collection? In our second year, we added to these challenges with the following: • Audiences – we are interested in solutions that address issues of accessibility and inclusion, improve the experience for families, help us reconnect with disengaged millennials and support our activities in promoting STEM learning subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) • Technology – we are open to supporting teams who are pushing the boundaries of technology e.g. VR and AR 2.0. • Sports – we issued two sports specific challenges; How can we use new technology to create experiences that bring our sports history alive? How can we share our sports collections to inspire the next generation of New Zealander’s? Lastly, we recognised that teams may have other ideas that we haven’t thought of.
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Selection of Teams We take a portfolio approach to the selection of the teams. We would like a mix of for-profit and social enterprise teams and are open to applications from student teams. The key criteria for selection of teams is the calibre, resilience and ability of the team to execute. It is highly likely that many of the original ideas the teams came in with will change once they have more understanding and knowledge of the sector.
“It is highly likely that many of the original ideas the teams came in with will change once they have more understanding and knowledge of the sector”
The Programme Delivery We took a lean / agile approach to the development of the Mahuki programme where we were iterating and adapting the programme as we were delivering it. This enabled us to be responsive to the needs and progress of the teams and enable us to incorporate opportunities as they arose. It meant that we were problem solving on the run and operating within a high degree of ambiguity. This is out of step with traditional museum practices, which are by nature driven to present a highly polished and completed outcome prior to external participation / presentation. We consider this approach to be appropriate in an innovative and entrepreneurial context and provide the greatest chance of producing enduring success as opposed a durable solution – as we are constantly adapting and responding to changes and variations in teams, ideas and market conditions and so forth.
more prevalent and accessible. Simultaneously, the Experience Economy is booming, with cultural institutions like Te Papa looking to increase their participation. Mahuki brings these variables together, finding the best ways to engage with entrepreneurs and suppliers to deliver sustainable business benefits rather than bespoke service contracts. The outcomes of Mahuki support cultural institutions like Te Papa to: speed up the innovation process, meet visitor expectations and remain relevant in an increasingly digital world; keep delighting our audiences when they visit in person or digitally and enable them to go deeper into our collections - beyond what is on display; achieve operational efficiencies and identify commercial outcomes and new revenue streams; build the innovation capability of our staff; and provide leadership and solutions to other NZ museums.
Why an Innovation Hub? Overall, cultural entities are complex businesses with difficult operating environments and many are undergoing digital transformation. In order to stay relevant, the cultural sector needs to adapt and innovate. Changing consumer experiences have resulted in audiences increasingly demanding experiences ahead of products, and placing more importance on social relationships and personalized services that meet an individual need and are delivered en masse. Technology has never been
The original objectives for establishing Mahuki were: • To be a source of innovation and transformation for Te Papa and the culture and heritage sector in New Zealand and globally. • Lift the understanding and capability of vendors we work with and increase the potential pool of vendors. • Capture the value from projects so that they can be easily replicated if appropriate as opposed to numerous bespoke projects.
• Identify and support commercial outcomes for Te Papa, the teams, the culture and heritage sector. • Recognition of opportunities for Wellington wide collaboration e.g. Peter Jackson’s Movie Museum that will be built across the road from Te Papa. Te Papa has a mandate and obligation, under the Te Papa Act, to lift the capability of the institutions in New Zealand’s culture and heritage sector. Mahuki is a sustainable way for Te Papa to address their transformation and audience engagement challenges through innovation that is distributed through the creative tech business sector in our communities. This is complimented by our goals at Mahuki to lift the capability of New Zealand firms by leading the development of New Zealand’s first entrepreneurial programme targeting the cultural sector. In doing so we aim to lift the capability of New Zealand firms to better deliver and meet the needs of this vertical in New Zealand and beyond. We also endeavour to support the wider New Zealand galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM) sector. The GLAM sector is undergoing digital transformation. Many have limited budgets, can be slow moving and have traditionally not been viewed as being ready for transformation by external vendors / businesses. Through the Hub we can help lift the digital capability of the New Zealand GLAM sector as a whole and support other New Zealand cultural institutions to access innovation and firms they can use who understand their needs and have been vetted through our programme. The Innovation Hub also builds new skillsets for Te Papa staff including business skills, mentoring and coaching of teams, entrepreneurial programme development and management, investment and so on. The first programme of Mahuki influenced Te Papa to accelerate its digitisation programme in order for us to fully engage with VR, AR and other technologies. 87
How do we measure success? At a macro level, Mahuki has resulted in two key outcomes for Te Papa; Firstly, the creation of an ecosystem where dozens of entities and hundreds of individuals have been motivated to think about Te Papa’s and the sector’s needs and innovation goals. This ecosystem will grow in size and value every year. Secondly, the creation of new, valuable networks for Te Papa for example with the investment community and new types of engagement with a wide range of existing communities. The key that indicator of positive ROI is the number of deployable solutions developed as a result of the programme. Seven out of ten teams from our first programme have a commercial agreement or pilot with an anchor customers and two of the teams have raised private investor funding so far. At a programme level, Mahuki has attracted significant cash and in-kind sponsorship support and we were successful in securing funding through Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand’s innovation agency. The longer term impact of Mahuki in terms of sustainable business development and contribution to the wider cultural sector will take longer to present. Our choice to take equity in the teams will also take time to see if we realize a financial benefit. Three years is the international benchmark for assessing the value of these types of programmes. Te Papa has committed to this timeframe as well as rigorously assessing the impact and value on an ongoing basis. The results of year one in terms of deployable solutions, the impact on our culture and capability and the opportunities to provide value and leadership to the wider NZ cultural sector, exceeded our expectations. What did we learn? Te Papa’s winning aspiration is to be a center of innovation for museums and galleries. Standing up an innovation unit within core business is difficult. Our approach to this has been to think about organizational innovation in 88
“Doing something new is inherently risky, because you don’t know what the answer is – you have to work it out as you go along, and that inherently feels uncomfortable”
terms of strategic horizons. In Horizon One, the work we are doing is optimising the core business. In Horizon Two, we are looking for adjacencies – either bringing current business value to a new set of customers in a different manner, or new value to the same customers. Horizon Three is about looking further ahead to the innovations that may be a game changer for our business in future. At Te Papa we’re working across all three horizons with Mahuki focused on horizons two and three. Mahuki has enabled Te Papa to pursue innovation that would not occur under business as usual. Doing something new is inherently risky, because you don’t know what the answer is – you have to work it out as you go along, and that inherently feels uncomfortable. Organisations succeed in surfing change because the organisation’s leadership were prepared to take risks to try something new; because their people were empowered to apply their expertise to a different kind of problem; because they could spend less time and money getting to the right answer, because they discovered a new way to create and extract value. The learning outcomes from Mahuki are diverse. Mahuki has influenced Te Papa to accelerate its digitisation programme to future proof our ability to incorporate virtual, augmented and mixed reality in future activities. We thought this was
a couple of years away but realised from the Mahuki teams that it is imminent. Mahuki has spotlighted many of the barriers for Te Papa to easily incorporate innovation in our business such as decision making cycles and we have begun work to address these. At the same time, Mahuki has inspired and motivated Te Papa staff and got them excited about new technology platforms and so forth. We are constantly refining the Mahuki programme to ensure it continues to add value to Te Papa and the teams that participate. Conclusion Through Mahuki, Te Papa has made a bold investment, recognizing that innovation is experimental and higher risk than core business. Even though we undertook extensive market research, Mahuki has still been a lesson in trusting our instincts and building a program iteratively. Now that we have completed our first program our instincts proved right and we are already reaping rewards. Some of which were unexpected, like the deep insights and research the teams have uncovered and shared with us. Mahuki has also challenged traditional perceptions of the role of a museum. We saw the potential for Te Papa to play a new role and leverage its assets, international brand and networks to contribute to New Zealand’s economic, social and creative prosperity. With its first year completed, Mahuki has proven the demand for an accelerator programme for creative technologies focused on the culture and heritage sector that offers tangible pathways to customers, national and international markets. In Mahuki, Te Papa has gone out on a limb – but we also did that 20 years ago when we imagined a new bicultural museology unseen in the world before. To reap the rewards of innovation, you have to be prepared to take risks. Tui Te Hau Innovation Hub Manager, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
The New Canadian History Hall: A Different Way of Presenting History Chantal Amyot and Lisa Leblanc on developing new ways of sharing and presenting stories, responding to visitor expectations, and embracing the Museum’s role as a knowledgeable and credible narrator
Chantal Amyot (left) is Director of the Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History. Prior to that she was Manager of Exhibitions at the Museum and before that occupied a number of positions with the Canadian Postal Museum. / Lisa Leblanc (right) is Director, Creative Learning and Development, at the Canadian Museum of History. Before joining the Museum in 2010, Lisa worked at the Canadian War Museum.
hen the Canadian Museum of Civilization changed its name to the Canadian Museum of History (CMH) in October 2012, it also undertook the development of the largest exhibition ever produced on the history of Canada. The new exhibition tells the story of Canada and its people from the dawn of human habitation to the present day. Although inspiring and fascinating throughout its five years of development, the experience was not without its challenges and issues. In association with several content focused committees and outside experts, the goal was to innovate in order to present history in a new way, while also opening up a mutually rewarding dialogue with visitors. The project’s mandate involved a complete overhaul of the approach taken in the previous exhibition on Canadian history presented at the Museum, in order to accommodate 21st-century visitors. After taking stock of the challenges involved in recounting 15,000 years of history within a completely renovated space, the Museum’s team decided to explore
new ways of sharing and presenting stories, of responding to visitor expectations, and of embracing the Museum’s role as a knowledgeable and credible narrator. A work structure was quickly put in place. It had three pillars: project management, research and content, and creative development. Aware that the team had never developed a project of this scope, project managers adapted both working methods and internal procedures, and tried to remain open to new ideas for as long as possible. As with any new way of working, each step involved major discussion, whether it be the determination of messages and experience, the management of collections and their integration in the design process, the development of scripts, or the demanding work of writing and editing exhibition text. Simultaneously, the need to remain “nimble” meant constant follow-up with members of the core team, to ensure that they understood the need for changes, the intended goals, and the importance of establishing an efficient way of working. The time and energy spent on clearly defining procedures and processes made it easier to clarify
© Canadian Museum of History
our intentions and align our goals all essential, since it was also necessary to work and interact with outside consultants and contractors who had often never before worked with the Museum. Building a Historical Narrative An initial look at the themes and issues which have shaped - and continue to shape - the history of Canada was produced by the Museum’s internal experts and submitted to the various committees. Because of this inclusive approach, the original list of topics to cover constantly grew through additions suggested by everyone. During development of the project, the work of advisory committees was meticulous. These committees, composed of academics, and cultural leaders from across the country, corresponded and engaged in discussion over a period of more than three years. They also met at least twice a year to share suggestions and concerns, and to continually adjust scenarios that were becoming more and more complex. Throughout the process, rigorous fact-checking was undertaken, ensuring a fluid
exchange between internal and external committees, while also ensuring that we were all working together towards the same goals. In tandem with this consultation process, we initiated, via several platforms, a means of connecting with everyday citizens in public places via information kiosks or focus groups, as well as consulting them either online or via organized meetings with key groups, such as the educational sector. Numerous studies undertaken by the Museum’s evaluation division over the years contained a wealth of material on public preferences with regard to historical narratives and what visitors considered the best ways of communicating. These studies allowed us to extrapolate from their statements and conclusions to determine the expectations of typical visitors to the CMH, and to history museums in general. More specifically, these studies allowed us to clearly define the Museum’s audiences - those who had been coming for years - and to identify them, not by their demographic profiles, but by their motives for visiting. Six visitor profiles were identified for the Hall, but the profile
“The goal was to innovate in order to present history in a new way, while also opening up a mutually rewarding dialogue with visitors”
“The final narrative was created from thousands of stories, which were mined in order to illustrate the collective journey that was emerging”
for the group we named “Sightseers” included the motivations of all the other groups. The “Sightseers” were identified as the target group for the development of our approaches and content. If one story, one multimedia module, one game or other element, did not meet the expectations of the “Sightseers”, it was not retained for the main exhibition, although it was still kept for more targeted purposes (school programs, tourism events, specialized lectures, etc.). Our audiences were truly more interested in stories than in events, preferring firsthand accounts, and seeking to learn the history behind the history through the lives of First Peoples and other individuals, famous or otherwise. Well-known Canadian names such as Terry Fox, Louis Riel, Viola Desmond or other popular figures from the 20th and 21st centuries often came up. They are part of the life experiences and memories of many Canadians today, and when we asked them about what they would like to see in an exhibition on the history of Canada, they mentioned wanting to share these memories and pass them down to future generations. Brainstorming sessions with focus groups were held in Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa and Vancouver, regarding the stories intended for the exhibition, and the legacy they might represent to future generations. The groups were identified and recruited based on profiles for the Museum’s target audiences. The goal was to validate the narrative storyline, as well as certain guiding principles. Those consulted were open-minded, and readily understood the idea of a national narrative, in which regional stories would be incorporated without eclipsing other parts of the country.
As the project advanced and the Hall began to take shape, six guiding principles were developed to guide our choices and help us make clearheaded decisions: national narrative, legacy, authenticity, human experience, multiple perspectives, and participation. These principles allowed us to move away from a traditional structure involving only key facts, setting aside more event-oriented and distracting aspects and allowed us to share History in a more allencompassing way. The final narrative was created from thousands of stories, which were mined in order to illustrate the collective journey that was emerging. In the end, the 18 stories in the new Hall, and their related content, all reflect our guiding principles.
Summary of Consultations Following internal discussions and consultations with experts and the 92
general public, more or less similar expectations emerged. The following elements are all part of the historical narrative of Canadian history as shared in the new exhibition. General Approach • Provide multiple voices, experiences and perspectives • Share both good and bad • Display actual material (collections, artifacts, firsthand accounts) • Connect to past, present and future Perspectives • Present Indigenous points of view • Include minorities and marginalized groups • Make room for our personal points of view • Connect with visitors like me • Consult acclaimed experts Visitor Experience • Incorporate interactivity • Personalize the experience • Share stories and make them appealing • Offer a memorable and powerful experience • Make us proud to be Canadian Messages, Guiding Principles and Narration This intensive planning and consultation exercise inevitably led to the stage where choices and decisions had to be made. It was a crucial phase, and quite demanding. Based on what the studies had revealed, and following significant deliberation, a main message with three key aspects was formulated and broadly shared, both internally and externally. Canadian History Hall Main Message • This is the story of Canada, the stories of our country, what it is and how it got that way
It’s a story of conflict, struggle and loss; success, accomplishment and hope It’s all around us and about us, and we shape its future
GUIDING PRINCIPLES National Narrative The CHH presents Canada’s national story; it begins with the presence of the first human beings 15,000 years ago in what was to become Canada, and continues to the present day. It is about what Canada is and how it got that way. It explores how politics, economics, human relationships, a vast land, and global forces have shaped the country. Human Experience Canadian history is the lived experiences of the real people of the past, and their stories and experiences are the beating heart of this exhibition. Aspects of the human experience, such as universal themes, the expression of emotion, and perception through the senses, help transcend time and place, and deeply connect the subjects of the exhibition and its visitors. Multiple Perspectives The history of Canada is built by multiple, oftentimes disparate, experiences and points of view. Whether through distinct and diverse
VilVite Sotra Authority Sartor Holding AS
Surface area m2 1.000 m2
Photography: Thor Brødreskift / VilVite Sotra
VilVite Sotra: A unique combination of shopping and Science Science Center VilVite Sotra is based in the Sartor Senter, the main shopping mall of Sotra Kystby. The center reﬂects the strong traditions of a once isolated ﬁshing community, which is nowadays the thriving center of Norway’s high-tech deep-sea ﬁshing industry.
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Above: The Hub serves to anchor the national narrative - the story of Canada unfolds within a space as vast and impressive as the country itself. Left: Circular ramp to reach Gallery 3 on the mezzanine level © Canadian Museum of History
individual voices, or implicit in the broader telling, the exhibition integrates a multitude of perspectives. Legacy Legacy helps answer the question, “Why History Matters?” Legacies are those tangible, clearly perceived outcomes of a historical event or process which visitors can grasp, and which shape their lives today. They help to unlock the richness of Canada’s story by providing a clear connection between the visitor, the past and the present, and its impact on the future. Participation Engagement and participation are central to the visitor experience of the CHH. Based on audience preferences and supporting the strong desire for customisable experiences, it is both physical and digital. It’s about dialogue and conversation, sharing and creating, learning and discovery. It is also about providing memorable social interactions around historical experiences which can be both fun and profound. Authenticity In both its approach to the content, and the manner in which it is presented, the experience of the CHH is authentic. Coherence and congruence in intention, realization, and messaging are essential. The CHH tells true stories, supported by rigorous
and transparent research. It displays tangible evidence, including artifacts, archival material, and oral histories, for these stories. It speaks honestly, with clarity and precision. The narration of each story was designed to create a bond between the Museum, as storyteller, and its audiences. The goal was to share stories that were powerful, captivating, dynamic and engaging, with an audience prepared to invest in those stories. It was by paying attention to rhythm, structure, general ambiance and emotion - as well as techniques designed to evoke the above - that we created rapport, and an exhibition aimed at moving and touching visitors. The history of Canada as presented in the CHH offers visitors points of entry into a past that is profoundly human, and always relevant, significant and satisfying. Each gallery abounds in powerful, unique and distinct moments, enabling visitors to better situate themselves in the space, while also retaining a strong and memorable impression of each of the stories told. Take, for example, the story of New France. We chose to tell this story by emphasizing the roles of women, and by illustrating the population explosion through a tree that is six metres (20 feet) tall, and which represents more than 600 descendants (within five generations) of Catherine Moitié (1649–1727),
a “fille du roi” born in La Rochelle, France. Each descendant is represented on the tree, on either a branch or a leaf. The visual effect is striking, but above all it shares the overriding idea of a legacy over time, and allows us to present the New France theme through the lens of the generations upon which its population is based. But it is the symbiosis between the narrative and the architecture which give the Canadian History Hall its unique power and impact. Exceptional vistas as well as remarkable architecture - created by Douglas Cardinal, chief architect of the Museum and the Hall - were integrated into the overall exhibition experience. Views and visual perspectives were taken into account throughout the exhibitions space, so that visitors would always have compelling points of reference, both within the exhibition and within the larger Museum. As such, after ascending a circular ramp to the second level, it is possible to see other Museum spaces (for example, the Canadian Children’s Museum). Or, by remaining in the central hub of the CHH, visitors can admire the large dome overhead. Each of these large physical areas within the Hall supports the narrative and guides visitors along the way. A visit to the Hall begins outside, where visitors are welcomed at the entrance, before passing through the introductory corridor (the Passageway) which leads to the central hub. 95
“Evaluations demonstrate that visitors to exhibitions expect to be asked to contribute, and expect that their opinions will be recorded” The Hub comes as a bit of an architectural surprise, its openness, domed ceiling and extended visas forming a marked contrast with the intimacy of the corridor. Surrounded by Galleries 1 and 2 on either side, and Gallery 3 on the mezzanine (reached by a circular ramp), the Hub serves to anchor the national narrative. The story of Canada unfolds within a space as vast, impressive and symbolic as the country itself. Overview of the New Exhibition Covering more than 40,000 square feet, the Canadian History Hall features more than 1,500 artifacts and shares the history of Canada through three historical eras, from the arrival of First Peoples to the present day: • • •
Galley 1: Early Canada Origins to 1763 Gallery 2: Colonial Canada 1763–1914 Gallery 3: Modern Canada 1914 to the present day
The architectural transformation of the exhibition area, conceived and directed by the Museum’s architect, Douglas Cardinal, re-established the open spaces and vistas originally planned for the Museum, thus providing visitors with a sense of the beauty, immensity and grandeur of Canada. Through digital and physical means, visitors have access to artifacts, documents, works of art, firsthand accounts and points of view, allowing them to create links with the Canada’s history in an innovative and engaging way. Establish and Maintain a Dialogue with Audiences Museum audiences in the 21st century are no different than the general population. They live in a world in which social media is omnipresent, and in which everyone has an opinion, 96
seeks the opinions of others, and reacts accordingly. In addition, when some say, “I want to leave a record of my impressions for subsequent visitors,” it is not a simple altruistic wish, but an actual expectation. Evaluations demonstrate that visitors to exhibitions expect to be asked to contribute, and expect that their opinions will be recorded. They also seek the opinions of visitors who have gone before them. Animators also play a key role in welcoming visitors. The Museum has planned various means of sparking discussion, and will be implementing a dozen animation activities to encourage interaction. In addition, certain consultations raised the difficulty of reaching everyone across the country. This has led to discussion on ways of eventually sharing this exhibition beyond our walls. Discussions with visitors continue, even after the opening of the new Hall, to assess their appreciation and the success of the exhibition, and to make any necessary adjustments over time. The results of studies undertaken during the year that follows the opening will identify the extent to which the main messages are engaging visitors, and if they enjoy the narrative as developed through the guiding principles we chose. Will they, for example, perceive and understand the multiple perspectives, the links, and the continuity of history as it is told, and the history that still surrounds us today? Wil they feel that they, too are part of that history? Conclusion The new exhibition was built upon a basis of constant and uninterrupted dialogue. It was thanks to this ongoing conversation between the Museum and its audiences, the Museum and its committees, and the Museum and its experts - and thanks to constructive discussions between various specialists and the Museum
- that, at each stage, we were able to build the project together. It is also thanks to this process that the work unfolded in a transparent fashion, with a preoccupation to avoid overlooking anything essential, while ensuring the project’s intellectual integrity. It was sometimes necessary to adjust to meet stated expectations, to ensure the truth and precision of the facts we presented, and to accommodate the museological constraints inherent in any exhibition. As the result of several years’ work, research, reassessments and sometimes difficult choices, this exhibition had a duty to meet the expectations of audiences, as well as the expectations of the numerous specialists consulted, both internally and externally. The Museum had a responsibility to honour the confidence it inspires in audiences as a history museum. Museums represent a trustworthy source of information, in a subjective world where it is sometimes difficult to verify the validity of sources. Opening the exhibiton marked a new phase in a project which seeks to remain current, and which will continue to evolve in the years to come. The dialogue initiated at the outset will continue, allowing the Museum to remain relevant, current and vital. The new Canadian History Hall offers visitors a space that has been completely transformed, both physically and intellectually. The exhibition and its works, although rooted in the past, reflect a contemporary mindset. But the discourse surrounding history, museology and social trends continues to evolve. The transformation must thus continue, in order to provide visitors with opportunities to live and relive the history of Canada, in tandem with their own expectations, and in pace with events to come. After all, history is all around us, and is all about us. We shape its future. Chantal Amyot, Director, Canadian History Hall Lisa Leblanc, Director, Creative Learning and Development, Canadian Museum of History
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bringing old documents to life …...
hen The Rochester Bridge Trust wanted to display documents from its archives it appointed H&H Sculpture and Design to bring them to life. H&H took on the task of creating the whole exhibition from the design concept through to final installation in Rochester Cathedral’s crypt. This included the graphic design; showcase layouts; bespoke acrylic supports; low-tech interactives; tactile models; and five iconic, life-sized figures from key stages in the history of Rochester’s bridges. To discover more about what we do, visit our website at www.handhsculptors.com - or contact us on: T: +44 (0)1322 225 248 E: hh.sculptorsltd@gmail 98
Adele Patrick has been involved in Glasgow Women’s Library since its launch, first as a volunteer, then as the Lifelong Learning Development Worker. Adele now manages Lifelong Learning and is also responsible for the Creative Development of the organisation. She is particularly interested in the creative and imaginative development of the Library as a unique; arts influenced provision that (re)defines through environment, learning approaches, programmes and resources what a library, archive and museum can be.
Making Glasgow Women’s Library Adele Patrick on how art, activism and feminist agency has shaped the first quarter century of the ground-breaking Glasgow Women’s Library
“Embedding equality at the heart of our museum resource has had a critical role to play both in forging the singularity of the organisation and its sustainability”
lasgow Women’s Library (GWL) is the sole Accredited museum of women’s history in the UK. 2016 marked 25 years of development and growth from a grassroots project into a unique, multiaward winning Recognised Collection of National Significance. This milestone offered the GWL team opportunities through talks, programming and strategic planning for reflection on the history of the organisation. This evaluation process took place in the context of unprecedented public approbation and press interest. During our anniversary year we broke through a glass ceiling with coverage in both the Guardian Women’s Page (Brooks, 2016) and BBC Radio Four’s Women’s Hour for the first time (on 3 March) and in the two years leading up to our anniversary we received sixteen awards recognising our achievements for our learning programmes (including the Women’s History Network Community History prize) and our refurbished premises (including Arts Venue of the Year in Scotland). Alongside an upsurge in interest in our collections there has been a steady historicisation of our work by cultural commentators and researchers1. Two years on, with visitor numbers increasing and our profile steadily expanding the survival of our museum
against the odds, grown from the grass roots in the most unpromising soil seems all the more remarkable. GWL launched during the white heat of the feminist backlash in Britain, when equalities initiatives in major UK cities were being eroded. The Thatcher regime (no friend to feminist activism) had been displaced only one year before. The haul was a long one; never having had revenue funding or a stock or acquisition budget GWL employed its first Librarian a full decade after launching and its first (part-time) museum professional in 2015. Not being in London (or England) has arguably made recognition of GWL’s small but steady ‘museological revolution’ slow to be registered. For some it is unfathomable why a feminist women’s library, archive and museum sprang up in Glasgow in 1990 and how it has grown despite turbulent political waters2. Feminist thinking and methods have shaped the development of what is now a landmark museum of its kind in the UK. Embedding equality at the heart of our museum resource has had a critical role to play both in forging the singularity of the organisation and its sustainability. Risk-taking and being brave, (characteristic of feminist endeavours past and present) are evident across GWL’s strategy and 99
The first location of Glasgow Women’s Library over 25 year ago. The grassroots project has grown to into a unique, award winning Recognised Collection of National Significance © Glasgow Women’s Library
operations, collecting, governance, curatorship and programming. GWL’s origin story is one of resistance and courage; of ongoing discussion, change and collaborative working that has resulted in a unique women’s museum. This labour was undertaken, at least in its early years in a relatively hostile cultural and political context, unpaid, without funding with little or no professional support. Women in Profile (WIP), the grass roots organisation out of which GWL grew, had been activated as an act of resistance to the ‘masculinized’ culture of Glasgow in the mid 1980s. In the lead in to Glasgow becoming European Capital of Culture 1990, WIP was forged by women who were convinced that unless we acted, the city’s culture, past and present, would be experienced (by local and international audiences) as overwhelmingly represented and created by white men. It was evident that Glasgow’s guardians of culture and the local press at the time were keen to promote and to a degree manufacture a vanguard of visual arts mavericks as standard bearers of the regenerating city. Significantly for us these artists were being dubbed The New Glasgow Boys (a school recognised and collected by Glasgow Museums). “Boys” also dominated in the fields of literature, comedy, film, politics and media. 100
WIP organised a festival of women’s culture, an attempt to unearth women’s historic contributions and spotlight contemporary women creatives, problematising the canon of Boys and attempting a more plural representation of Glasgow. In the process WIP struck a wellspring of support, galvanizing artists and writers, participants and audiences interested in claiming space for women. Its organising efforts culminated in exhibitions, film screenings, an international arts conference and a landmark public art project, Castlemilk Womanhouse. The materials generated and gathered in the process became the first records and artefacts collected by GWL, launched from the crucible of WIP in September 1991. GWL’s origins statements were polemical and unequivocally feminist. A month after the launch I had appeared in the local newspaper declaring: “We are trying to embarrass the politicians into recognising that whilst millions are spent every year maintaining and encouraging a culture which has always been dominated by masculine values the female side of our culture is still side-lined or ignored altogether.” (Ann Coltart, Glasgow Herald, 29 October, 1991)
As a lone resource of its kind in Scotland, links to European sister organisations were critical to us. Many international sister organisations were charting radical pathways in response to the exclusionary approaches of the mainstream museum, archive and library sectors3. The discovery of these idiosyncratic, welcoming European arts-focused and artist-run initiatives (and the Lesbian Herstories Archive in New York) crystallized our desire to create a women’s resource in Glasgow. Seeing collections being grown in flats, warehouses, brownstones and shop fronts was illuminating and made our ambitions seem achievable. On reflection, building a resource from scratch (generating community ownership and independence, with a sense of feminist entrepreneurship and having a radically “open” access) helped to define and root values of collective working and responsibility, diversity and enterprise from the outset. GWL grew, and grows through accretions of ideas and iterations of a vision of what a women’s cultural and collections resource might be (as well as resistance to the inequalities still perceived to be reflected in mainstream museum culture) from thousands of volunteers, users, donors and (from 2000) paid staff and Board members. In 1998 at the Know How
conference, Amsterdam, we met women’s libraries, archives and museums from around the world. Inspired in particular by Akshara, women’s library in Mumbai and the European Women’s Thesaurus collective, we took the bold step of developing a feminist classification system for our reference and lending library. Feminist critiques of Dewey and the Library of Congress had been published since the early 1970s and we felt there were compelling reasons to develop an accessible feminist approach to the scheme notwithstanding pressures on us from library professionals and academics to take the more conventional route. The effectiveness of the resulting ‘activist’ system for users and its value in opening up discussion and debate about collections and access and has been revelatory leading us to explore the ways we might synergise our museum, archive and library catalogues for users and volunteers’ benefit, weighing the caution of external colleagues with, again how best to enable engagement. Another bold watershed move was the decision to offer a home (following threats of closure) to the London based national Lesbian Archive and Information Centre (LAIC) in 1995. The huge volume of the collection (it still represents around a third of our entire holdings) was daunting for an organisation without any archive or museum resources (we had an attic floor in a rented building). The move also necessitated a kind of institutional coming out. Making visible women’s hidden histories was a mainstreamed activity in GWL but the political context was febrile. Debates raged over Section 28 (repealed first in Scotland but not until 2000) generating much public and press hostility. Local authorities were exercised about potential legal action arising from the “promotion of homosexuality” in any expressions of support and we faced challenges from other quarters. Some of the guardians of LAIC in London were wary of its move from the capital (“were there enough or indeed any lesbians in Scotland?”)
“It has taken considerable nerve to maintain the collection in precarious premises and to be confident that our space will survive, improve and grow” Bravery was required from both parties. My first appreciation of the potential and necessity for community curatorship dates from the arrival of the Pantechnicon lorry delivering the LAIC. I witnessed older lesbian volunteers moved to tears as they unpacked books, badges and T-shirts. These artefacts and publications may have had little value to the mainstream museum sector of the time but for some its contents clearly had a mythic, talismanic status. This palpable demonstration of the significance of the collection contributed a freight of meaning and responsibility that we have tried to honour. Notwithstanding concerns about widespread publicly expressed homophobia, the first funded project GWL connecting our collections with users was a young lesbian peer education and support project LiPS (Lesbians in Peer Support) launched in 2000 that used the room where the LAIC collection was housed as the hub for a six year programme of activities. Throughout the years we have continued to actively collect, share and foreground “difficult” topics from sex, sexuality and sectarianism to racism and hate crime. We have encouraged the widest range of engagement with our fascinating, complex and sometimes contentious collections: from being a crucible for activism (we were the proud founding home for the Glasgow cohort of the Lesbian Avengers in 1995) to fostering new works by artists and writers on domestic abuse, shame and rape. As we have gained more knowledge of the library, archive and museums sectors we have come to appreciate the rarity of the hybridity of GWL’s users. Unlike many institutions with a different origin story, from the outset our space was invested in, visited by and claimed by people from all backgrounds (like ourselves) who for very different reasons articulated a
need for or wanted a women’s library, archive and, or museum resource. In essence, we were the community, the hard to reach, the ‘easy to ignore’. GWL developed reflecting in its collections and in its physical ambience this heterogeneous user base. The heterogeneity of the collection (we had no collecting policy for our first two decades) has in fact become one of its strengths enabling a multitude of pathways to access it and begin undertaking research and for making the museum meaningful to the widest range of users. It has taken considerable nerve to maintain the collection in precarious premises and to be confident that our space will survive, improve and grow. In anticipation of the more active use of the collection in our new home in Bridgeton (the first that offered us exhibition resources) we launched the Badges of Honour project in 2014. It can be seen a typically participatory model of working at GWL. Badges are one of the strengths of our collection; we have thousands that map the equalities and feminist campaigning histories of women and their involvement in popular music, fandom, leisure activities, political parties and trade unions. This project was also one of the first at GWL to use social media and create digital resources. Badges have become catalysts for people, including those not confident in literacy or who do not have English as first language, to talk about their lives and the issues that are important to them and consequently we regularly use them in learning programmes. Many of our donors, including those featured in our Badges of Honour exhibition, are not regular visitors to the national or mainstream museums. They may not be aware of the historical value of their collections, or are aware but want to ensure that the items they give us are continually used, are accessible and, or add to 103
“The visibility of women, their lives, histories and contributions to culture are of the utmost importance to us in terms of collections and learning” the multifaceted picture of women’s histories and lives that we are building. The visibility of women, their lives, histories and contributions to culture are of the utmost importance to us in terms of collections and learning. It is critical to us as we build the resource, that as many women are involved in the process as possible. In linked work that foregrounds women’s hidden voices, GWL has developed innovative projects involving partnership working with artists and writers, young pop-up film programmers and graphic designers, we have published books, pamphlets and online resources, such as Sex in the Women’s Library, (2014), Mixing the Colours (2015) and In Her Shoes, Glasgow Women’s Library, (2016) highlighting the collections and women’s memories and experiences to ensure silenced voices are brought into the discussions around sex, sectarianism and hate crime respectively. WIP and GWL had and still have creatives at the helm of the organisation. Somewhat unusually for museum managers, both Sue John and I, the strategic leads for the organisation, are art school trained. Our Board currently includes an architect and a published writer and the whole team is encouraged and committed to work innovatively and imaginatively and to continually consciously work to expand the cultural capital of those that use our resource as well as the creative horizons of our own staff team and Board. We have collaborated with and commissioned hundreds of artists, filmmakers, musicians, visual communicators and writers since our inception. We have benefitted from the agency of creatives working with and bringing their perspectives to bear on the organisation and its collections. An example of this, 21 Revolutions, is an award-winning project involving 104
exhibitions, a publication (2014) podcasts, an events programme and a collection of prints (a significant income generator, the prints have been acquired for private and public collections). 21 Revolutions involved the commissioning of 21 new artworks and 21 new works created by writers inspired by our collections to mark our 21st birthday. Artists included three Turner Prize nominees and amongst the participating writers, Jackie Kay, AL Kennedy, Muriel Gray, Louise Welsh and Janice Galloway as well as a raft of emerging talent. Residencies such as the Artist in Residence for the Women of Glasgow in 2014 (an art activist residency that involved Mandy Mackintosh mining and creating new public artworks inspired by the Zero Tolerance archive at GWL), and our current exhibition Our Red Aunt by Auckland based artist Fiona Jack synthesise three key components, that have become a regular productive blueprint for collaborations: GWL collections + public engagement + artists agency. Following relocation to Bridgeton, an area figuring in the worst 5% of areas experiencing deprivation in Scotland, into our first permanent home, we again chose to mark this milestone through work with creative. The March of Women project (2015) became a triumphant declaration of survival and our arrival in a new neighbourhood. This collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) involved complex processes of engagement leading to a large-scale public performance/ artwork. March of Women enabled us to forge a connection between the collection, participants (in particular local women and their families) choreographers, professional actors, filmmakers, photographers and composers and our collections and learning teams working over the course of a year with over 100 women in the
adaption and re-enactment of Cicely Hamilton’s suffragette play, A Pageant of Great Women. The agency of creatives ensured our first major project in our new home, sent a visually arresting and unequivocal message about GWL and our work, rooted in the campaigning histories of women (in Glasgow and globally) participatory, active within and beyond our building, (re)claiming the space and streets around it. This was an act of bravery on a range of registers not least as banners and sashes paraded in the streets were freighted with significance in a neighbourhood still closely associated with sectarian division. In the period since GWL’s inception, academic institutions (such as RCS) and galleries and museums, have been increasingly moving from a focus on object care and preservation of a canon to widening access and dialogue with non-academic partners. Conversely GWL has grown from an inherent embodying of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI, an aspect of our work that has developed and strengthened) to addressing the challenges of collections management, conservation and professionalization. Since 2016 Our Equality in Progress programme has been active supporting radical transformations in services and resources to enable thoroughgoing institutional and attitudinal change, championing of the widest engagement and for equalities to be embedded in sustainable ways. We confidently and passionately make the case for the value of equality in areas as including governance, communications and programming. The sometimes painful but profound learning that has taken place at GWL over the past 27 years is now impacting on the wider cultural landscape at strategic and operational levels. At this milestone, Women’s archives and museum collections in the UK can be summarised as being either hosted by academic institutions (where they are relatively safe but may be subject to access restrictions, lack of community ownership or regime change) or are run as community resources by volunteers with limited or insecure funding (and
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7 Sirens Spatialised binaural sound work featuring audio triggered media, digital simulations, real time user tracking and physical setworks.
ISO and composer Giles Lamb. VR and mixed reality installation. Commissioned by Sonica Festival
where collections are relatively at risk). In contrast, GWL offers a distinct model of sustained and steady growth, independence and resilience with radically accessible collections and with its activist agency still foregrounded. As I write, the political, financial and cultural landscape looks increasingly uncertain. In Scotland and the UK, as in Europe and in wider global contexts, there has been a period of volatility and threats to equalities. Unlike some sister organisations in London, Manchester and other British cities that were to thrive during the Second Wave of feminism, GWL did not spring from revenue support from a council Equalities Budget. GWL has had to survive and thrive through the kind of feminist entrepreneurship typified by the First Wave, fusing campaigning nous with creative flair, developing enterprising ways to get the message of women’s history and equality to the widest range of people with the aim of affecting change. In its 25th year, GWL is experiencing a paradoxical golden period at a time of challenges to feminism in the wider world. This most recent feminist backlash coincides with/ is fuelled by a huge ratcheting up of interest in feminism amongst young women. GWL has become an important valued resource for them and for the wider communities of young people in Glasgow and beyond whilst we benefit from the fresh perspectives and energy they bring. Since our first connection with European sister organisations we have continued to benefit from links with women’s libraries, archives and museums internationally and see this as increasingly important in combatting the threats to our shared aims to ensure women can gain access to the information they require to make positive life choices. We take inspiration from sister organisations such as Kvindemuseet, Aarhus and models of working such as the Voices of Feminism Oral History Project, Massachusetts, that illustrate the ways sister organizations “integrate knowledge of women’s past into campaigns for change today.” (Smith
“We aim for our stores to be seen by communities as depositaries for them to contribute to and be active in as interpreters and curators” College Libraries, Smith College Libraries, Sophia Smith Collection) As an independent institution constructed through the trust and investment of diverse women we are not complacent around a possible resurgence of “Boy” culture, we aim to be sustainable, keep the collections as accessible as possible, for our stores to be increasingly seen by communities as depositaries for them to contribute to and use and be active in as interpreters and curators. The Third/Fourth Waves of feminism have engendered academic and critical attention for GWL and have brought increasing numbers of people of all backgrounds to our door to research, volunteer, use and support the Library. This reflects the widespread and growing interest in the records of activism. There is an allure for some in the objects and artefacts of past struggles but as Eichhorn asserts, “Rather than approach the archive as a site of preservation (a place to house traces of the past) feminist scholars, cultural workers, librarians, and archivists born during and after the rise of the second wave feminist movement are seizing the archive as an apparatus to legitimize new forms of knowledge and cultural production in an economically and politically precarious present.” (Kate Eichhorn, The Archival Turn in Feminism: outrage in order. (2013) Philadelphia, Temple University Press. (p4) GWL is not an anachronism, we are personally and professionally cognoscent of the current waves of political unrest, mass demonstrations and political debates articulated around gender. If the heightened politicisation, prevalence and importance of equalities debates across the world are to be heeded, women’s museums, archives and libraries are critically important resources. We acknowledge
the responsibility we have to provide free resources for women who may be surviving discrimination, need a safe space to connect with others, gain knowledge and build alliances. The collections themselves are ballast to our work and to the turbulence experienced in the wider communities with whom we work. They provide evidence of hard won battles to gain freedom and equality and are an antidote to ‘post truth’ rhetoric. Notwithstanding the uncharted waters that lay ahead, we are looking forward with undiminished commitment to the next quarter decade noting that our claimed space is being seen as a new model of what a (feminist) museum could be. (Elizabeth Mills, Museums Journal, November 2016) We are buoyed by the support of our users, sister organisations and acknowledge that in the wider community of museums we find ourselves working in a context where there is evidence of increased openness to learn from intersectional feminist approaches and a will to embrace equality beyond the tick box. Adele Patrick Lifelong Learning and Creative Development Manager, Glasgow Women’s Library 1. Sarah Lowndes was amongst the first to contextualize GWL and its precursor Women in Profile (WIP)’s role in both a trajectory of feminist art history and our place within the context of a regenerating Glasgow Sarah Lowndes, Social Sculpture, Art, Performance and Music in Glasgow, A Social History of Independent Practice, Exhibitions and Events since 1971, (Glasgow, Stopstop, 2003). 2. For example, in the online thread following the Guardian Women’s Page article one comment states, “Wonderful! But why Glasgow?”(Brooks, ibid., online version). 3. We were influenced in particular by Kunstlerinnen Archiv, Nurnberg and Bildwechsel, Hamburg (the former is now incorporated into the latter). Frauen-Museum in Bonn, Das Verborgene Museum and Spinnboden, the Lesbian Archive in Berlin 107
Middle East Galleries, Penn Museum, Philadelphia
Designed by hsd, the new Middle East Galleries at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia represent the first phase of the most significant refurbishment of the Museum in 118 years
ew Middle East Galleries at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia opened to the public on 21 April 2018. Designed by Haley Sharpe Design (hsd), the striking galleries represent the first phase of the most significant refurbishment of the Penn Museum in 118 years. Founded in 1887, the Penn Museum was the first United States institution to send an archaeological expedition to the Middle East. More than 130 years and hundreds of international expeditions later, the Museum remains a world leader in Near Eastern archaeology, with a collection of more than 100,000 historically-significant artefacts. Ten curators with wide-ranging expertise in the region contributed to the selection of artefacts and the rich storyline that emerged during a multi-year development process. Set in 6,000 square feet of recently renovated gallery space, the Middle East Galleries are the first of the Museum’s upcoming signature galleries to open. This suite of galleries invites
the visitor to travel on a remarkable 10,000-year human journey ‘to the city’ - from life in the earliest villages and towns to increasingly complex and large-scale settlements. hsd’s approach to the Middle East Galleries has been one of analysis and exploration. Analysis of the brief, the collection, the building and audience, developed alongside explorations of potential arrangements, themes and media, and exploration through sketches, photos, models, diagrams and images, to shape an understanding of the potential within the large collection. “Our technical and creative design approach took the physical setting of the galleries into account”, comments Alisdair Hinshelwood, Designer and Director at hsd. “Our design optimises visitor flow and routing for both access and gallery users, stylistically acknowledging the historic character of the spaces, whilst offering an attractive and inviting gallery environment.” Walking through the gallery, links between past people’s lives,
contemporary society and challenges will become clear to visitors – encouraging an appreciation of fundamental aspects of our culture and society today that originated in the Middle East. Nearly 1,200 objects from the Museum’s collections are on view. These include world-renowned treasures such as a Sumerian queen’s crowning jewellery from 4,500 years ago, the famed Ram-in-the-Thicket statuette, and one of the oldest known wine vessels in the world. The objects are the prime means of communication, enabling visitors to explore the wider social, cultural, commercial, artistic and political context in which these items were produced. Large-scale video projections, scale models, illustrator’s renderings of scenes from the reconstructed past, smaller interactive stations, and touchable reproductions provide diverse avenues for visitors to explore the collections and the stories they tell. 109
Ocean Liners: Speed & Style - V&A, London Sysco deliver layers of audiovisual solutions to help create dramatic, decadent and memorable exhibition exploring golden age of ocean travel
he new Ocean Liners: Speed & Style exhibition at the V&A re-imagines the golden age of ocean travel. The exhibition explores the design and cultural impact of the ocean liner on an international scale, covering all aspects of ship design from groundbreaking engineering, architecture and interiors to the fashion and lifestyle aboard. Hosted within Gallery 39 and the North Court of the V&A, visitors embark on a grand voyage through five key themes; Promotion, Politics of Style, Engineering, Life on Board and The Metaphor of the Liner. As visitors journey across these spaces, they encounter an extensive showcase of over 250 exhibits including paintings, sculpture and ship models in addition to objects from shipyards, wall panels, furniture, fashion, textiles, photographs, posters and film. Throughout the exhibition, discreetly mounted loudspeakers are subtly blended with the environment to deliver multiple audio soundscapes; each perfectly matched to the themed space and corresponding narrative. The familiar coastal sounds of birds,
distant waves and music from bygone eras carry visitors back in time to a lost age of glitz and glamour onboard. The soundscape is further amplified and heightened in Engineering, with an active subwoofer creating heavy reverberations and depth of sound, mimicking an authentic engine room setting. As the visitor travels through the exhibition, so too does the accompanying adjoining audio. Interspersed amongst the exhibits are archival photographs, movie footage and other media presented through LCD displays and projections, offering more context and animated insight in to the evolution of ocean travel. A rare preview of the Queen Mary is presented in Politics of Style where the shipâ€™s interiors can be admired through a portrait projection displayed on to an elevated angular screen. French Art Deco Liners are shown alongside, to offer an additional perspective in to the beautiful ship design and intricate decoration. Life on Board transports visitors back to the age of glamour, beauty and style with creative setworks, grand installations and magnificent exhibits.
Entering the space, the Seascape Panorama comprises of two seamlessly blended short throw laser projections that are perfectly scaled and overlaid with the setworks to deliver a beautiful sea view. As visitors stroll aboard the ship decking, they can stand at the railings and gaze out to sea watching a cruise liner glide across the ocean of this sunny daydream scene. As daytime disappears, the grandiose evening dinner and dance ensues. The decadence, glamour and nighttime romance of Grande Descente is recreated with 4 synchronised projections of a man and woman dressed in their evening attire descending a staircase. With projection screens suspended asymmetrically amongst a night sky of LED starry walls, the looping media content and perfect geometry correction are attributed to the 6-channel rack mounted watchout server. The Grande Descente provided a spectacular stage for social display and is beautifully re-enacted in this feature display that forms a bold backdrop to this space. As the voyage draws to a close, The Metaphor of the Liner focuses on
nostalgia, bringing reference to one of the most iconic stories in history with the display of a wooden panel fragment from an overdoor in the first-class lounge on Titanic. Restricted by the fragility and sensitivity of this object, lighting levels were carefully considered to safeguard this artefact. As a result, this small remnant sits beneath 2 ceiling mounted projectors, which harmoniously merges a projected visual of flowing water referencing the wounded and fractured ship that still remains submerged. This creative visual overlay translates the key narrative - capturing not just the popular fascination with that fateful ship but a deep longing for a lost age. Sysco Productions were contracted to deliver the layers of audiovisual solutions around the museum by Empty SL, working closely with Flemming Associates and Casson Mann to develop the design and integrate the technology seamlessly amongst artefacts and exhibits. The interactive media was designed by Lightmap, with lighting provided by Studio ZNA and the White Wall Company. 111
Brooklands Museum, Surrey New media exhibits designed and produced by ay-pe spark creativity and encourage social interaction in the newly restored Bellman Hangar
or more than a century, Brooklands has been associated with engineering and technological achievements of international importance in the fields of motor racing and aviation. For the past 25 years the spirit of innovation has been kept alive by Brooklands Museum. They have now embarked on the next chapter of the extraordinary history of the site with the ReEngineering Brooklands masterplan. The initial phase - the Brooklands Aircraft Factory and Race Track Revival project - has now been completed with a ÂŁ4.7m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project has transformed the Museum and created an inspiring visitor experience. The newly restored and re-opened Bellman Hangar at the Museum sees twelve media exhibits designed and produced by ay-pe Ltd. 112
The aim of the AV media was to explain the history of the design, development and manufacture of all aircraft. The criteria from Brooklands was that each exhibit had to engender the excitement of discovery, be educational without feeling so, and to be lively and tactile. The main aim was to focus on the visitor experience, helping them to investigate and understand the workings of aircraft and to make complicated technical information accessible without patronising the audience. All of the software ay-pe produced offered freedom to spark creativity and to encourage social interaction as well as giving visitors the unique experience of testing their own aircraft building skills. The media was also sensitively produced to work alongside the Museums outstanding collection of historic aircraft within its iconic home.
“We are absolutely delighted to receive this prestigious award. It will help us to strengthen our reputation in an ever-increasing competitive global market”
Natural History Museum at the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre in Kuwait City
BECK wins 2018 Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade
ECK has won the 2018 Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade. The Surrey based Group Company services the fit-out industry within the Heritage and Cultural, Hotel, Retail and highend Residential sectors. It provides a full turnkey service from design development, fabrication, delivery and installation to complete aftercare and maintenance. Quality is one of the main factors to BECK’s success and their in-house fabrication, specialist joinery and finishing facilities, enables them to deliver on this time and time again. BECK’s British know-how has brought them recognition as leaders within their field, gaining them more international projects than any of their direct competitors. Bringing visions into reality for International markets is BECK’s strategy and they have successfully adopted this by tailoring their approach
to meet the needs of individual clients in selected markets. BECK’s five top markets are currently Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Mexico and UAE with new opportunities being pursued in new regions including Oman, Hong Kong and North America. Mark Banham, Group Board Director said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this prestigious award, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all our personnel and suppliers. It will help us to strengthen our reputation in an ever-increasing competitive global market. We are optimistic that new overseas markets will benefit the UK and give significant opportunities for our sectors”. BECK Victory House, Cox Lane Chessington, Surrey KT9 1SG E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: +44 (0) 20 8974 0500 113
Museums in a Post-Colonial Commonwealth Richard Benjamin on the recent symposium exploring how cultures, their histories, stories and material objects have been and are still represented in a museum context within the Commonwealth Richard Benjamin is Head of the International Slavery Museum at National Museums Liverpool, and President of the Commonwealth Association of Museums. Richard is responsible for the strategic development of the International Slavery Museum, including the forthcoming ISM education and resource centre; partnership work and research. He supervises the day-today running of the world class display galleries including the acquisition of museum objects and collections. Richard gained a BA (Hons) degree in Community and Race Relations at Edge Hill College and then went on to complete an MA and PhD in Archaeology at the University of Liverpool. In 2002 he was a Visiting Research scholar at the W.E.B.DuBois Institute of African and African American Research at Harvard University.
uring the decolonisation period of the 1950s and 1960s many of Liverpool’s leading institutions remained heavily orientated towards the Empire. Networks gained by Liverpool merchants during the transatlantic slave trade were exploited to open up lucrative new markets for ‘legitimate commerce’ after abolition, particularly in Africa, India, and the Americas. In Decolonising the Museum: The Case of the Imperial and Commonwealth Institutes Dr Claire Wintle notes: “…there was no complete ‘transfer of power’ from Britain to her ex-colonies during ‘decolonisation’. Imperialism continued to infuse cultural, economic and political life, both in the metropole and in the (ex)colony.” Consequently Liverpool was a fitting location for the symposium Museums in a Post-Colonial Commonwealth: identities, issues and opportunities on 14 April 2018, part of a series of national events to mark the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London. Organised by the International Slavery Museum (ISM) and Commonwealth Association of Museums (CAM), it examined how cultures, their histories, stories and material objects have been and are still represented in a museum context in the Commonwealth. How do museums, their publics and objects interact? Can a reappraisal of “colonial museums” enable dialogue and democracy? Just some of the questions explored by an eclectic mix of speakers including Catherine Cole – Secretary General of CAM who talked about fairness, prosperity, sustainability and security, highlighting the important work that CAM carries out, particularly in the Caribbean and Pacific. Professor Graham Black & Dr Chris Reynolds (Nottingham Trent University) discussed ‘Museums and Difficult History: Northern Ireland’s ‘68 at 50’– an intriguing
paper which noted their frustration at having to edit text to the nth degree when developing an exhibition. One interesting conclusion they reached was that ‘there is no single truth – instead, multiple perspectives based on lived experiences’. Holly Tebbutt and Ali Eisa from Autograph ABP - established in 1988 with the mission of advocating the inclusion of historically marginalised photographic practices - discussed ‘Decolonising the Archive’, and gave examples of their thought-provoking exhibitions such as Black Chronicles II which explored Black presences in 19th and early 20th-century Britain, through the prism of studio portraiture. The final speaker was writer and curator Priya Khanchandani who was recently appointed Deputy Editor of Icon magazine and who co-runs Museums Detox, a collective of museum professionals campaigning for greater diversity in the sector. Priya focused on the need to ‘decolonise museums’, and that they needed to openly and honestly discuss some of the ‘atrocities of Empire’. To set the scene for what became a dynamic Q&A, Nicholas Watts from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies discussed his interest in developing a permanent exhibition that addresses Empire and Commonwealth History. All present agreed that if done well and honestly and a suitable place was found then it could be worth developing - especially as the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol closed its doors in 2009. The symposium highlighted the complexities of post-colonial museum discussions and it most definitely set the scene for a follow-up event. Dr Richard Benjamin, Head of the International Slavery and President of the Commonwealth Association of Museums
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Founded in 2009, Museum-iD magazine explores new ideas and developments in museums, galleries, archives and heritage sites around the world....
Published on Jun 26, 2018
Founded in 2009, Museum-iD magazine explores new ideas and developments in museums, galleries, archives and heritage sites around the world....