Ralph Applebaum Associates has designed the interiors and exhibition space for the The Horniman Museum’s flagship Music Gallery, which opens tomorrow.
The consultancy, which has worked on the project for more than three years, will receive a proportion of the total Centenary Development project fund, estimated at £1.2m.
Ralph Applebaum Associates director of London operations Phillip Tefft says the group was briefed to make the exhibition, split into three different sections, thematically coherent, a task achieved through distinct mounting systems and colour schemes.
It was also instructed to bring displays alive via 3D installments and interactive displays. These include videos in the Rhythm of Life section, which demonstrate how people use music to herald rites of passage.
Elsewhere, interactive listening tables give visitors access to the Horniman sound archives enabling them to hear how a wall of 960 individual instruments sounds when played.
‘The aim was to connect visitors with the people who make and use the instruments displayed in the gallery,’ says Teft.
‘We wanted a space that could display a large collection of diverse world instruments and could be made accessible and entertaining to a wide audience,’ adds Margaret Birley, keeper of musical instruments at The Horniman Museum.
The gallery completes the attraction’s £13m Centenary Development. It is the final addition to the specialist music museum’s Heritage Lottery-supported wing, which opened in June and already houses two exhibition halls. It contains 1600 instruments from around the world described as ‘highlights’ of the 8000-piece Horniman collection.
Ralph Applebaum Associates was appointed in 1998 on the back of a five-way credentials-based pitch.