National Army Museum
1 June 2017
It seems as the team is doing a cultural tour of Kensington and Chelsea of late! We worked on the fundraising material to secure the financial support for the National Army Museum to be completely revamped about 5 years ago, so we went along to see how the £24 million that was raised had been used to bring this institution back to life. And it really is a transformation.
Historic artefacts are now mixed in with interactive displays – including a virtual Drill Sergeant to shout at you on parade. Diaries and paintings of WW1 and WW2 are now brought to life in an immersive moving image installation where they are contrasted with modern accounts and video footage of battles in Iraq and Afganistan. Consequently this made for a powerful film about soldiers’ personal experiences.
Each level of the museum now has curated themes that bring the army’s changing social relevance into focus. It’s not just the linear history of where’s and when’s from text books, but now the museum addresses different times and drivers of wars, alongside cultural and gender differences with the army.
The space has been divided into several almost self-contained exhibits, all of which you can see from the main atrium leading you around this great space, neon signs, layered posters, music and sound that is triggered to start as you walk past it and touch screens to investigate and huge animated timelines all gather together for a visit that keeps giving. Even for the most passive of visitors, a visual journey full of variety.
The Design Museum
28 April 2017
We finally made it to the Design Museum on High Street Kensington as a team, and it was refreshing to see the curation; design in history, culture, ethics, medicine – a wide range of themes to open questions about at what point (if any) does design not enter our lives. Here is a selection of our highlights. An incredible space; we look forward to visiting again and if you haven’t yet – we recommend it!
Eames’ plywood leg splint
I’d only known Eames for their furniture design, so to see them making leg splints during WW2 surprised me. It seems like an obvious solution now, to make an inexpensive, lightweight item that needed manufacturing fast was ideal for their iconic plywood process. A brilliantly simple design idea crossing sectors.
Here’s some further information.
Untitled film by Thomas Thwaites
This was a film about design’s role in the fight against climate change and used three joined screens to make the content as visually stimulating as the audio was. Produced by Thomas Thwaites, of living-like-a-goat fame, it is untraceable online, so if you are interested you’ll have to go to the Design Museum see it for yourself.
Tash & Kathryn’s pick:
How to Make a Tennis Ball
There was so much to see in the exhibition that this video provided some welcomed hypnosis. A super satisfying watch. See for yourself:
We Were There Too
in the community
10 February 2017
Since the launch we’ve been steadily working with the project team to refine areas of this site. With the potential for an enormous number of assets to be held in this digital museum, these initial stages of use provide us with lots of learnings from lots of different types of people in the community. How and why they are looking for things and what they then may want to contribute themselves.
Recently the team have been working with a large group in the community to digitally preserve a large collection of items, found in storage, that children created in WW1. This has been an ideal case study for the use of the site. Creating profiles, uploading drawings, poems and reflections by people at the time, and then being able to share them with the present members of the synagogue and their children. The reaction to the importance of being able to do this, the insight it brings and the ability to preserve them as an educational resource has sparked wider interest and has appeared in the news.
It’s really motivating to see it now in use; assets in place but, more importantly being read and shared. We look forward to developing the site further as the collection grows.
Read the full article here.
The Natural History Museum
26 November 2016
He’s a bit of an icon around these parts – of course in South Kensington, that could be referring to a lot of people, but we’re talking about Dippy the Diplodocus skeleton at the Natural History Museum.
As the Hintze Hall there is changing he’s being taken on a tour – the first move he’s made since being on display since 1905. That’s why we feel he’s quite a local icon and takes a memorable spot in a lot of people’s childhood and adult memory, somehow no matter how much we grow up, being able to see the scale of an animal like this will always be somewhat magical. So it’s no wonder people are a little uncomfortable seeing a change for this display.
The Museums here are amazing destinations to have on the agency’s doorstep and we look forward to seeing the new exhibit when it launches, but it was time to make one last visit before he goes. If you can’t see him before he leaves, find out where the tour is, here.