The future of museums with
the Earth Museum

We know from Philip Pullman the danger of being disconnected from your Daemon. Here at HKD we have long been worried about museum artefacts being dislocated from their home soil and lost to local contemporary audiences. There are arguments on both sides about the repatriation of collections globally, nationally, locally; it is bound to be a lively debate in the coming years. In the meantime, we are delighted to be working with The Earth Museum. They are working to define a digital platform which will allow collections, geographies, people and stories to be reconnected. We are looking forward to the next part of the adventure which will allow us to island hop from Thanet, Rapa Nui and back to the Isle of Wight. Not bad for working from home! For more information please click here.

World Heritage Centre, Bath

HKD is proud to be working on the interpretation design for Bath World Heritage Centre. The Centre will be located in the heart of the City Centre and will have free access for all. It will be filled with imaginative interpretation that will show people why Bath is so special. It will inspire and equip visitors with the information they need to go out and explore the amazing World Heritage City of Bath, which was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site (WHS) in 1987. For more information please click here.

Out of this world accessibility

Out of this world accessibility: Winchester Science Centre blazes a trail for museums sector. HKD are delighted to have designed the revamped Winchester Science Centre. Due to open later this year, installation is well underway. A huge focus of the interpretation and masterplan was to ensure it was as accessible as possible. Guided by a mission statement of ‘no decision made about me, without me’, Winchester Science Centre has steered the approach toward accessibility and inclusivity with unparalleled vigour. Keep an eye on our socials for progress updates. Out of this world accessibility: Winchester Science Centre blazes a trail for museums sector

Flight gallery design approved

As China is returning to business as usual, our latest project Flight Gallery in Shanghai Science & Technology Museum was signed-off yesterday. HKD business partner Mrs Lily Yu (second from the right in the picture), successfully presented our design scheme to the curator and consultant experts. The Flight Gallery is one of the museum’s refurbishment projects. It will replace the current Space Gallery located on the third floor. The 1,550 sqm exhibition area features a full scale Ford Trimotor aircraft replica and the latest Comac C919 technology. The renovation is due to start next year and the new gallery opens in 2023.

Back & Fill

Looking out to the horizon from Marine Studios we can see a storm coming, and we need something to look forward to. So we’re creating Back & Fill, a one-off festival for interesting times, inspired by the currents of seaside life. Celebrating Margate’s resilience, it’s programmed to happen at the end of what looks like being a tough summer season. By creating a network that supports artists and makers, independent shops, small arts venues and seaside tourism businesses, it’ll practically demonstrate the power of arts led regeneration. We’ve called it Back & Fill because that’s a sailing term, for using the advantage of the tide being with you when the wind is not. That seemed to be about right, for where we are now. Back & Fill is being created with an open source toolkit, which we’ll make available to any seaside town wanting to create their own festival. We’ll provide a framework, tools to engage audiences, logos and branding, and deliver some online training films based on our combined fifty years of programming seaside festivals in Margate and Worthing (between us, we have made things like GEEK, Worthing Art Trail and Open Houses, and Pushing Print). Back & Fill will happen in the autumn school holiday, between 23rd October and 1st November 2020 (if we’re still in crisis, the backup date is February 2021). Want to know more? Drop us an email, and tell us what you have programmed or planned for that week, or what you’re postponing now and might want to reschedule. Or tell us what you’d like to make just for Back & Fill. We’re talking to funders, but we have no confirmed funding yet, so if you want to put some money in our fighting fund that’d be great. We’ll be in touch soon with more news! Look forward to hearing from you. All the best

1st Friday Digital: Playful learning

After running First Fridays for 10 years at the studio, we’ve been taking stock and thinking about fresh ways to deliver them. During this season of social distancing, First Fridays will go digital. For our first offering, we bring you our SELECTION OF PLAYFUL LEARNING – museums, heritage and arts resources. Whether you’re suddenly homeschooling your children, or looking for stimulating ways to entertain yourself during lockdown, we hope there’s something here for you. Firstly, Google Arts and Culture has a wealth of DIGITAL MUSEUM TOURS and online exhibitions. Why not visit a museum on the other side of the planet? For example, MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand – contains over 8,000 works in various media from a wide range of periods and all over the world. —————— Website link: Google Arts and Culture Closer to home, Firstsite in Colchester is launching ARTIST ACTIVITY PACKS with some of the UK’s best-known contemporary artists. The packs are free to download and no special materials are needed. —————— Website link: Firstsite Down the coast from us, Hastings Contemporary is sharing CREATIVE MINDFULNESS RESOURCES for children and adults. All you need is a pencil or pen and something to draw on. —————— Website link: CREATIVE MINDFULNESS RESOURCES The Getty Museum artworks challenge invites you to RECREATE FAMOUS ARTWORKS using objects and people in your home. The creations people are sharing will bring a much-needed smile to your face. —————— Twitter link: RECREATE FAMOUS ARTWORKS Similarly, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has started #isolationcreations. This challenge on Twitter presents a different object from their collection each day and invites you to make and SHARE YOUR OWN CREATION inspired by it. —————— Twitter link: Ashmolean Museum The Ashmo (as it’s known locally) also features in the first of a SERIES OF QUIZZES in the Guardian set by museums. —————— Website link: Guardian If VIDEOGAMES are more your thing, check out the National Videogames Museum website, which has a great selection of activities for kids and big kids, such as CREATE YOUR OWN PIXELART CREATION. We’re big fans of play and this looks right up our street! —————— Website link: National…

Winchester Science Centre’s £1.1M redevelopment

HKD has been awarded the design contract to masterplan the redevelopment of Winchester Science Centre and is designing the first phase of interpretative design, along with build contractors TMP. Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium, an independent educational charity on a mission to excite children in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), is set to relaunch its visitor experience in July 2020, having successfully secured full funding for a £1.1m redevelopment plan Inspiring Science for All. “We share the Science Centre’s ambition to create inclusive experiences.” said Kate Kneale, Director of HKD. “We bring a creative multi-disciplinary team to the project, with vast experience in delivering major exhibitions and interactive experiences. We were excited by the challenge set by the Science Centre, to create an accessible, multi-sensory exhibition and experience that would delight its visitors and spark their curiosity in STEM. Our design is as much about visitor wellbeing as it is about their interaction and learning experience.” Ben Ward says the initial concept designs presented by HKD delivered on ‘wow’ and pushed the boundaries of the project in a really exciting and unexpected way. “We had identified the areas for development but HKD responded with the total reordering and design of the upper floor and we loved it. The repositioning of the Invention Studio to the far corner of the building has created a seamless link to the outside, and all the exciting possibilities this brings. They’ve introduced a central live science demo area which can be viewed from both the upper and lower level, adding drama and surprise to every visit. This isn’t a new exhibition, it’s a relaunch of our Science Centre!”

God’s House Tower, Southampton opening!

We’re very excited to be the exhibit designers for the major refurbishment project of one of Southampton’s most important buildings – God’s House Tower. The historic gateway into Old Southampton is open once again. Telling the stories of this extraordinary site through a mixture of interactive exhibit design and artist responses, there are some beautiful, fascinating and challenging moments in the tower as you progress through four floors. See our project page for more info.  

Tippoo or not Tippoo? V&A Friday Late

Last Friday, we set up a bespoke game for the V&A Friday Late,  with our GEEK hats on, called 'Tippoo or not Tippoo?' reflecting on their extraordinary collections. Visitors donned their respective object tabards and leapt on the board to discover unbelievable truths.  With nearly 5000 people attending the 'All to Play For' Late, we were kept very busy!  Thanks to the V&A for having us and everyone that came to play.

Shenzhen Stock Exchange

It was a real treat to visit the appropriately named ‘Shenzhen Stock Exchange Financial Museum’ that we’ve been working on this year at the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, which lives inside the OMA designed building. There are 200m2 of galleries taking you through the history of stock exchanges: Dutch and British East India companies, right up to date with China’s more recent Shanghai then Shenzhen. Well done team!

The Wilson – WOW! Gallery

We were delighted to visit the WOW! (World of Wonders) gallery since it opened earlier this year. It was great to catch up with The Wilson team and hear about all the positive interaction from under 5s and beyond. WOW! was a particularly exciting gallery for us to work on.  Over twenty years experience allowed for our ideas to do with learning, play, games within a museum setting to come to a head with The Wilson curatorial team bravely agreeing with our suggestions to get rid of labels and allowing for many of the objects to form part of a new handling collection. More information on this project will follow.

Trip to Hirstmonceaux Observatory

Last month the team embarked upon a fantastic day of science-ing at the Observatory Science Centre in Hirstmonceux, East Sussex. Opening in 1958 after the decision to move from Greenwich in 1939 was on hold for for the war, it was in operation until 1990 before being taken over by the brilliant Science Projects who have opened it up as a science centre. Architect Brian O’Rorke’s 1950s building is now grade II listed and has some wonderful features, but seems surprisingly impractical for a, what needed to be, pitch- black night-time operation: multiple levels, no railings and a treacherous pond right in the middle of the site. Apparently numerous night observers (as they were called) ended up in there! We saw the Thompson and Yapp telescopes, refracting and reflecting respectively. Did lots of playing and learning via brilliant interactive exhibits including how horses see, how the Archimedes screw works, tornados and spectrums… The centre is highly recommended. Huge thank you to Steve Pizzey, Jo and Collin for looking after us. @observatory_sci .

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