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What does the sea mean to different people? For some it’s heroic tales of adventure, glorious naval battles or voyages of discovery to unknown places — for others just a day at the beach. Britain’s National Maritime Museum wanted to share its world class collection of artefacts, images and records in an innovative way to help visitors gain a richer understanding of the country’s seafaring heritage.
A new Voyagers Gallery in the Sammy Ofer Wing provided the opportunity to bring together stories of the sea and tell them in an imaginative way that was relevant to visitors of all ages. The organizers wanted to create an immersive experience simulating the feel of the ocean with a soundscape of wind, waves and sails to frame themed videos and talking head personal accounts of life at sea. The aim was to create a thought-provoking contemporary insight into Britain’s long-standing relationship with the sea.
Hundreds of objects, newly commissioned videos, historical images, powerful audio, dramatic soundscapes and innovative audiovisual projection combine to create intense, changing patterns of images and words on a massive dynamic wavelike structure — a powerful fusion of architecture, storytelling and technology. The audiovisual elements are seamlessly integrated with a long object wall that communicates powerful emotions associated with the sea – anticipation, love, tragedy, pride and aggression.
Although the Voyager Gallery is considered a ‘taster’ exhibition, it exceeds expectations by revealing the vast scope and content of the Museum’s collections in an original, engaging way that appeals to a diverse range of visitors with different interests in the sea. The innovative content and treatment reinforces the reputation of the National Maritime Museum as a fascinating and relevant destination for the 21st century.
Content is delivered through a beautiful fusion of technology and architecture to tell the story of English maritime history.