Translating the essence of a famous person into an exhibition requires careful curation, thoughtful design, and an engaging narrative. In this blog, we will explore what’s involved in creating an exhibition that effectively captures and translates the legacy of a famous individual.
Understanding and research.
To embark on the journey of translating a famous person through an exhibition, thorough research is essential. By diving into the life and accomplishments of the individual, this allows us to understand their historical, cultural, or societal context. In our work at the Pankhurst Centre in Manchester, we playfully reinterpret Emmeline Pankhurst’s desk to show how she balanced her many roles, as a mother, a working woman, and an activist. Domestic objects sit on the desk for visitors to explore her relationship with her family, work, and her place in society. In this exhibition, we wanted to highlight both the good and not so good sides to Emmeline, with the aim of leaving visitors feeling curious.
Define the focus and create a captivating narrative.
It’s important to determine the specific aspect of the famous person’s life or work that you want to highlight; whether it’s their artistic achievements, scientific breakthroughs, or cultural influence. We like to structure an exhibition in a way that takes visitors on a journey through key moments, milestones, or significant events of the famous person’s life. By engaging all three disciplines – 3D design, content, and graphic design – we can create a cohesive and compelling exhibition that engages and connects visitors emotionally with the personality.
One of our projects ‘The Open Era’ at Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum aims to put the visitor in the players shoes. Within the gallery there are sculpted mannequins of six legendary tennis players in iconic poses. The interactive bench and lockers in the gallery allow a ‘behind the scenes’ experience. Visitors may choose from a push-button menu of stories about the Dressing Rooms – as told by the players themselves – allowing a more emotional connection.
Curating relevant content.
The selection of compelling content is crucial to translating a famous personality effectively, this could include photographs, videos, quotes, personal belongings, or replicas. Within Downton Abbey: The Exhibition, we wanted to intertwine real stories with the fiction, just as the TV show does. We surrounded the character’s stories with related British historical events, so visitors are not only being entertained but also learning real history.
We know that Downton Abbey fans know every detail - so we worked closely with the show’s award-winning production team and show historian Jessica Fellowes, to ensure the smallest prop to a script delivered by a character was as authentic as possible.
We are currently working on a new visitor experience at the renowned Manchester Town Hall. Our aim is to create a captivating visitor experience that not only highlights the rich history of Manchester, but also showcases the significance of the Town Hall itself. Within the gallery named ‘The People’s Palace,’ we invite the people of Manchester to actively participate by nominating individuals who have made a positive difference to the community or have had a personal impact on them. This gallery serves as a place of reflection, commemoration, and celebration, honouring the remarkable achievements of Manchester’s citizens.
To discuss your project or even seek guidance, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’re always happy to help!