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Imperial War Museum's Second World War & Holocaust Galleries

Electrosonic’s technology design helps set new standards for the presentation of complex and emotional subjects.

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INTRODUCTION

London’s Imperial War Museum has created two new galleries – the Holocaust Gallery and Second World War Gallery – to help visitors understand the causes, course and consequences of that crucial period of history.

The Second World War Gallery, designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates (RAA) and Holocaust Gallery designed by Casson Mann constitute over 3000 meters of exhibit space and feature extensive audiovisual displays, film footage, 360⁰ soundscapes and interactive exhibits that complement thousands of artifacts and personal stories.

Electrosonic worked in partnership with the Imperial War Museum, RAA, Casson Mann and project managers Fraser Randall, designing the complete audiovisual, control and network infrastructure systems. The result is two worldclass exhibition galleries that blend storytelling and technology to convey the complexity and interdependency of those global events.

OVERVIEW

The galleries span two floors at the Museum and complement each other by making clear the connection between the events of the Holocaust and the wider course of the Second World War.

The Second World War Gallery on level 1 occupies 1800 square meters across six spaces. An immersive soundscape, special audio effects, architectural-scale projection and interactive exhibits evoke the sounds and sights of global warfare in a compelling multi-sensory experience.

Large-scale projection in one gallery fills three walls with contemporary images of war locations, with powerful ‘battleground’ audio contrasting with the tranquil scenes. In another gallery, an overhead LED display of fighter planes and sound effects recreate the aerial combat of the Battle of Britain and the Blitz.

The Holocaust Gallery on level 2 incorporates archive film footage, video displays and personal audio anecdotes to build a powerful, emotional environment that darkens as the timeline moves onwards. Slim life-size glass ‘totems’ relate the stories of individuals who endured the Holocaust, while a motion graphics map demonstrates the scale of Jewish deportation. Sensitive soundscapes designed by Idee und Klang complement the dramatic images.

Throughout the two galleries innovative technology supports a new interpretative approach that aims to engage a contemporary audience and preserve the stories for future generations.

CHALLENGE

The Museum’s vision was to create an impactful experience that would balance technology and narrative to immerse visitors in the story of those difficult times. Electrosonic’s role was to support key partners by providing ongoing technology design consulting with custom audiovisual, control system and network infrastructure design.

That required expert knowledge of the technologies that would be used to create the experience, together with value engineering skills to ensure project budgets stayed on track.

SOLUTION

Electrosonic helped develop the blue sky technology concept, guided the design with cutting edge technology options and advised on the technology hardware for specific exhibits. We developed the audiovisual, control systems and physical network infrastructure design, then provided budget and facility impact information, in addition to tender documents for the audiovisual systems. Throughout the three-year technology design phase, Electrosonic assisted the designers to ensure the experience came to life as intended.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Electrosonic’s technology design and consulting supported gallery designers RAA and Casson Mann as they created this award-winning experience where technology, architecture and storytelling come together. Electrosonic’s Technology Master Planning™ supported the audiovisual and control systems that created a truly immersive experience. Our experience with designing solutions for large-scale experiential projects helped bring this period of history to life.

Project Details

Client
Imperial War Museum
Partners
Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Casson Mann
Location
London, UK
Size
3,000 sq.m
Services
Blue Sky Technology Concept
Technology Design Consulting
Audiovisual Design
Control System Design
Network Infrastructure Design
Technology Master Planning™
Equipment Specification & Mockups
Project Strategy & Budgeting
Our experience in designing spectacular spaces with innovative technologies supported the creative vision by providing comprehensive designs for the audiovisual, control and network infrastructure systems.
Rob Ferguson
Solutions Architect, Electrosonic
Reflective Moments Large-scale projection fills massive screens with contemporary images of historic injustices.
Personal Stories Over 3500 artifacts paired with immersive technologies build understanding and real retention of historic information.
Touching History Interactive touch displays educate visitors on untold stories and unheard voices of the Holocaust and WWII.

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