5th September is officially International Day of Charity! First declared in 2012 by the United Nations, the annual day aims to increase social responsibility and also boost the public’s support of charitable causes. To celebrate the day, the UN encourages people to donate to charity and get involved with charitable organisations to raise awareness of good causes.
Over the years, we’ve worked on a number of projects for clients that have roots in charitable causes, all aiming to inspire and educate visitors – here are just a few…
Situated in Runcorn, Cheshire, Norton Priory Museum & Gardens is the most excavated monastery in Europe, comprising the ruins of an abbey dating back to the 12th century and an 18th century walled garden. We developed the exhibition design for its museum, which opened in 2016 following a successful grant application with the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The new museum showcases thousands of artefacts from its fascinating 900-year history, including the world-renowned 14th century statue of St Christopher. Using additional support from The Wellcome Trust, we were able to use cutting-edge technology and science to bring to life skeletons that were buried at the site and implement sensory exhibits to encourage visitor interaction.
The museum is managed by the Norton Priory Museum Trust Limited, which is dedicated to preserving the internationally significant site and providing access to a wide audience. It offers a variety of education and community programmes – including programmes that are targeted at people from deprived areas and people with learning difficulties – partnerships with universities and affordable family events to engage the wider community.
St Albans Cathedral
Earlier this year, we completed a project for St Albans Cathedral, where we were tasked with reimagining the welcome centre and improving the overall visitor experience.
Although the cathedral is of huge cultural and historical significance – St Alban was Britain’s first saint – the history and importance of its story isn’t widely known. As such, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and over 1,000 donors generously decided to fund work on the cathedral to establish it as a must-see attraction.
Opening to the public on – of course – St Albans Day, 22nd June 2019, we were able to unveil the brand-new interpretative design of the cathedral. We installed a fit-out in the new welcome centre, an education centre for children, an adult study centre and an exhibition area. We also ensured that the cathedral is more accessible through improved disability access.
St Albans Cathedral puts a strong focus on community engagement and education for children and adults alike, offering full programmes of learning events that explore faith, history and culture from many angles, as well as ancient language lessons!
Quarry Bank Mill
Europe’s largest conservation charity, the National Trust is the driving force behind some of the country’s best-loved attractions, lovingly restoring and maintaining historical sites across the UK. In 2018, we worked alongside the trust to redesign Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, one of the best-preserved textile mills of the Industrial Revolution.
Over three years, we helped to redesign it as a complete visitor site, adding a new welcome building and six distinct venue experience – all of which are fully accessible. Visitors can experience the sights and sounds of the mill and fully immerse themselves in the daily lives of the mill workers through rich interactive experiences and volunteer engagement.
The National Trust has always been focused on educating the next generation as part of its legacy, as well as ensuring that its attractions are kept in the best possible condition, so that everyone will be able to enjoy them for years to come.
In 2016, we were appointed to design the new National Horseracing Museum, housed at the Grade II-listed former palace of King Charles II and the stable-years in Newmarket. Working alongside the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, we transformed the palace into state-of-the-art gallery spaces and converted the stable blocks into interactive spaces – including real former racehorses for visitors to engage with!
This world-class attraction brings together the National Horseracing Museum, the British Sporting Art Trust and the Retraining of Racehorses – three charities operating together. As well as keeping the rich heritage of horseracing alive and accessible to the public, Retraining of Racehorses is the sport’s official charity for the welfare of retired horses. One of the country’s most prominent equine charities, it aims to rehome former racehorses.
We’re proud to have worked with so many fantastic organisations that focus on engaging and educating the community and look forward to working with many more! #InternationalDayOfCharity