Museums and Heritage Interpretation

Although museum environments are often designed around collections, Qualia aims to put the visitor experience first when planning new gallery experiences. Interpretive media can range from simple graphic panels with text and images, through to full-scale audiovisual installations and historical recreations. Our approach is to choose media carefully based on appropriateness, available budgets and the curatorial expertise of individual museums. 

The following examples of work show how content-rich displays can be designed to engage a very broad range of visitors. 

Working with Curators: The National Science and Media Museum, Bradford

The galleries at the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, demonstrate how key collections can be displayed to maximum effect. The displays within the Kodak Gallery enhance public awareness of social history and the impact of technology on social change throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. 

The theatrical settings within the gallery bring the rich collection of objects to life as part of the overall interpretation and encourage visitor engagement on many levels. 

Collaborative Design: Valence House Museum, Dagenham

Qualia was hired by Brennan Design LLP in 2011 to provide detail designs for Valence House Museum at Dagenham. This was very much a collaborative process, with Dennis Brennan of Brennan Design LLP providing conceptual design to RIBA stage D and Richard Mathers at Qualia providing detail design and production drawings to instruct the fabrication and manufacture of the displays. The budget for interpretation and design was £750k.

Enhancing Collections and Displays: York Castle Museum

The following designs were created for York Castle Museum. The scheme, together with drawn concepts for future enhancements, build upon the Museum's existing approaches to visitor engagement, combining material collections and social history interpretation. The project budget was £90k.

Working with Museum Volunteers: Whitby Museums Geology Gallery

Qualia works closely with museum professionals, volunteers and local community groups to interpret complex subjects and collections in ways that make them meaningful and accessible to all visitors.

The following design and build project was carried out by Qualia and XMC Limited for the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society. On a budget of less than £20k, Qualia and XMC were able to refurbish two Victorian cases and reinterpret a key part of Whitby Museum's Jurassic collection. The case refurbishment involved having collection objects displayed on graphic timelines and a new low-voltage lighting system set within the outer edges of the cases' windows.    

Qualia and XMC worked very closely with local volunteers, geologists and Jurassic experts from around Whitby to enhance the choice of collection objects and the nuanced interpretation set within the Museum's antique cases.

The Mary Room at  Edinburgh Castle

Queen Mary's Room at Edinburgh Castle is where she gave birth to her son James, the first King of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1566 . The portraits in the preceding room tell the story of Mary’s royal line and its connections to Edinburgh Castle. 

Qualia worked closely with Historic Environment Scotland's conservators and interpretation team on the meticulous positioning and layouts of the royal portraits from its collection. 

This was very much a collaborative process, with the relative positions of text, lighting and portraits being of critical importance. Historic Environment Scotland curated the content of the exhibition and KSLD provided the lighting design.


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