Highly regarded creative team Real Studios Ltd has been appointed as exhibition designers for the new galleries in Tomorrow’s Museum for Dorset. Real Studios is renowned for a pioneering interpretive approach, having worked on such diverse high profile commissions as The Lapworth Museum of Geology at University of Birmingham (as pictured above), The Staffordshire Hoard at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, David Bowie Is at the V & A, and Celtic Art and Design at the British Museum.
Real Studios will be working alongside the museum’s own Interpretation Development team to develop the designs and themes that tell the story of 200 million years of Dorset. Commenting on the Tomorrow’s Museum project, Real Studios co-founder and creative director, Yvonne Golds said “We are thrilled to be developing a 21st century exhibition space for the unique collections at Dorset County Museum, which deserve to be displayed in world class surroundings.”
In the newly transformed museum, visitors will experience the full breadth of the collections for the first time. A series of galleries will tell the story of 200 million years of Dorset history.
The first gallery that visitors encounter on the ground floor, the Natural Dorset Gallery will cover 200 million years of natural history. Highlighting the Museum’s Geology and Natural History collections, visitors will explore how we experience the environment, how it has inspired curiosity and imagination, and how we can be more involved in conserving it for the future.
Another gallery, Peoples’ Dorset, will tell the story of Dorset’s people, from around 400,000 BC up to the present day. Using items from the museum’s internationally significant Archaeology, Social History, Costume and Textiles, Fine Art and Literary collections, it will create an engaging, people-centred narrative, exploring how Dorset’s landscape has shaped the lives of its inhabitants. Coming right up to the present day, the idea of place, and peoples’ experience of it, will be a central theme.
Creative Dorset comprises two linked galleries, Writers’ Dorset and Artists’ Dorset. In the first of these, visitors will enjoy the museum’s highly significant literary collections, particularly the Thomas Hardy collection. Hardy’s life, the ‘partly real, partly dream’ Dorset he wrote about, and the wider story of how his work still resonates today will be interwoven into a compelling narrative. Dorset’s dialect poet, William Barnes, will be another important figure in the gallery.
Artists’ Dorset will utilise the Museum’s stunning collection of paintings, drawings and sculpture to demonstrate how artists have been inspired by the county’s unique geology, landscape and way of life. A showpiece large window in the gallery space will provide a panoramic view beyond Dorchester to the water meadows just outside the town and the rolling hills beyond, allowing visitors themselves to be inspired by the county’s beautiful landscape.
As an integral part of the creative design phase, Real Studios and the museum’s in-house interpretation team are consulting with voluntary curators and other staff members to shape these ideas as part of the evolving architectural design and activity plan.