Museum artefacts and cognitive narratives
Since the British Museum (London’s first public museum) opened to the public in 1759, the systems used to display objects in museums remain largely unchanged. Objects generally continue to be tagged, dated, and positioned on plinths or in glass cases, and visitors are seldom invited to touch them. The emphasis is upon visual engagement only, and a profound understanding of the significance of each object is seldom achieved.
More recently however, display culture is beginning to evolve due to technological shifts and social trends, prompting museums to reconsider how the public engage – physically and psychologically – with historical content.
For many, a museum should be a place where social exchanges can be held and experiences can be shared, rather than simply a space for viewing cabinets or touching screens. The museum of the future should therefore be a space where the narrative of objects is reimagined through new systems that arouse intense and complex sensory experiences, revealing new narratives.
This design proposal involved carving a narrative route across, beneath and outside of the Imperial War Museum building that spatially curates carefully selected World War II artefacts. Rather than simply display these artefacts, this project proposes to use the material qualities and historic narratives of each artefact to directly inform the design attributes of a series of immersive interior spaces, enabling visitors to have a richer and more meaningful cognitive experience of each object.
Shortlisted at RCA Head of Programme Prize, Interiors, 2017