Over the past few weeks, Joe, Sammi and I, have been on various museum trips to research and gather ideas related to the different projects we are working on.
Joe visited Hampton Court as part of the ECHOES project he is working on with Liz B (Duty Officer) and the Ipswich Visitors Service team. His exciting account will be in a future blog post, so keep your eyes peeled!
On Friday 4 March, Sammi and I visited The Imperial War Museum in London to research how bigger establishments address ‘war’, so we could gather ideas for the Battle of The Somme exhibition we are planning for Christchurch Mansion. Over the day we both visited the main galleries and gained an insight into how war, and the often difficult concept of war, is presented in a meaningful but tasteful manner.
Personally, I found the quotations used around the First World War gallery very poignant and inspiring, as they helped to attach true stories to the objects, images and facts that were on display. For me, this personal approach works extremely well, as it gives a sense of perspective and realism to those stories being exhibited. The connection to real feelings, emotions and experiences during the World War 1 period, was something that I found very powerful. It made the concept of war more relateable and removed the barrier between ‘them’ and ‘us’.
Another idea, which I thought allowed for a better experience, was the interactivity of the gallery, from the opening video explaining the effects of war on the British society to audio used throughout. A reconstruction of men going into battle, was particularly effective, as it brought the idea of war to life and immersed visitors in what they were exploring. The objects, technology and visuals I saw throughout The Imperial War Museum inspired many ideas as to how we can display the effects of The Somme on the people of Suffolk.
After I’d finished exploring the museum galleries, I was invited to a Short Film Festival in the museum’s cinema, which showcased the work of 3 London Film students. Their films on war were very special and tied in wonderfully to the themes of the galleries and exhibitions.
Stay tuned for updates on our Battle of The Somme exhibition plans!