Reveal, National Conservation Centre
The National Conservation Centre cares for the diverse collection of all eight of the National Museums of Liverpool as well as providing specialist services to Museums worldwide. The Reveal exhibition is their education centre to explain to visitors the behind-scenes science of conservation.
HKD’s challenge was to connect people to the objects - why should we care for them in the first place?
Response to brief
The brief called for a scientific study on the conservation of objects:
HKD challenged this through design workshops with the NML team and widened the themes to incorporate the story of objects themselves, giving visitors a personal connection to the content before breaking down the conservation process.
HKD’s assessment of the building lead to an expansion of available display area, created a shop, while consolidating the locations staff were needed.
• The plan proposed in the brief
• The plan devised by HKD with new entrance and themes
HKD developed two suites of interactive exhibits for the exhibition. We are experts in designing interactive exhibits, in part honed by our extensive work in science centres. Creating engaging, meaningful exhibits is a playful, collaborative process, led by our creative director Richard Houghton.
The sketches opposite are indicative of the process we use to develop these designs.
The interactives at Reveal combined scientific analytical technology, such as x-rays, fiber-optic microscopes and dendrochronology with museum objects from the National Museums of Liverpool collection.
• Exhibit sketch utilising scientific tools to investigate the painting
• Sketch of a showcase design with objects annotated as if in a sketch book
The entrance display allowed objects in the museums to “Tell their Story”.
We focused on revealing the more personal stories of objects and why they were collected. A series of object towers created a sense of packing cases, while maintaining high conservation standards within the showcases.
The science bit
The second set of interactives gave visitors access to scientific research tools to investigate the objects themselves.
Key exhibits included an Egyptian mummy and a Greek statue which if you studied closely, had been
re-assembled by the Romans.
HKD located a laboratory on the gallery floor to show visitors the conservation work done by the experts which normally happens behind the scenes.
• Grade II listed building
• Artefact display to explain scientific processes while maintaining high conservation standards
• Integrated artefact and audio visual displays
• Working with large project team including architect, M+E and cost consultants
• Accommodation of shop and ticketing
• Demonstration and explanation of working processes
• Working laboratory placed in gallery
• Son et Lumiere Show created for when laboratory is not in use
• Suite of hands on interactive exhibits exploring the science behind conservation
• Design services included acoustic and lighting design, editorial support and contract administration
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