The peoples museum is a concept to increase the public’s engagement with the British Museum I designed as part of my master’s degree in interior design. It essentially aims to get the public more involved with the exhibitions held at the museum through participation and by bringing the museum out to them. To do this I have designed a transportable structure that can be modified which will move throughout the Great Court and the City of London via a track. It will be used as a ‘market’ like space for the public to bring connecting artefacts and stories to the exhibition, and then become an exhibition space itself when taken inside and around the city.
For years now the British Museum has had conflicting relationships with the public and the countries whose artefacts sit within its walls. The time has come for this to change. The museum needs to start repairing its relationship with the world.
HOW WILL THE MUSEUM REPAIR RELATIONSHIPS?
Involving the public in the curating process
Inviting scholars from the artefacts’ home country to the museum to curate the exhibition
Inviting these scholars to speak and educate whilst the exhibition is being held
Building a replica within the museum’s walls which will replace the original once complete
Sending the exhibition out to the streets of London to create awareness of the museums actions
HOW WILL THIS BE ACHIEVED?
The museum will select an artefact from its collection it wishes to honour. They will then send information about the upcoming exhibition to the public and invite anyone who has a personal or cultural connection to the artefact to bring stories, artwork, rituals or their own artefacts from home to be displayed, told and taught alongside the display of the honoured artefact. The exhibition itself will be curated by the scholars from the artefact’s home country in order for them to regain control of their history. Whilst the exhibition is being held the replica will be build within the walls of the Great Court for visitors to watch and learn about the labour that goes into the creation of the artefact as well as lectures, and the stories of the public being told above in the Reading Room.
HOW WILL THE MUSEUM TRAVEL THE STREETS OF LONDON?
A pavilion structure that can be compacted down and transported shall hold the exhibition as it travels through London. It will be transported via rail similar to a tramline as to not disrupt the road and allow traffic to continue to use the streets when the structure is at its locations.
To make it easy to be transported the structure needed to be compactable whilst not removing important factors such as weight, water resistance and strength. In order to stay within all these parameters the material used for the structure will be the same as is used for old-style cotton canvas tents, it is naturally waterproof, and although weighty is considerably lighter than building the structure out of other materials, and most importantly it can be folded away to a comfortable size to transport. But how can material hold a shape? The material shall be stiffened with lining and special treatment processes allowing it to keep its malleability whilst holding its form once in one of its final positions.
Once the structure has been unfurled it can then be manipulated into as many shapes as the imagination will allow. By creating the space this way one single structure can be used in multiple ways and can look different every time therefore eliminating the need to replace or rebuild an entire structure to home a new exhibition.