New Bristol museum M Shed set to open

Event Communications has designed exhibitions for new Bristol museum M Shed, which opens next month.

The new museum, which is located in a 1950s transit shed on Bristol’s wharf, will explore the city’s history using collections and stories donated by Bristol’s inhabitants.

The building has been designed by architect Lab Architecture Studios and will include 3000m2 of permanent and temporary exhibition space across three floors.

Event began working on the project in 2008, having won a tender to design the exhibition spaces after creating the museum masterplan in 2007.

The consultancy has designed three permanent exhibition spaces for the museum, which will focus on Bristol people, the physical city and daily life for its inhabitants.

The content for the exhibition has been developed through visitor evaluation, with the underlying concept being that Bristol is still evolving and changing and that Bristol’s inhabitants are still making their own history.

The Bristol Places gallery will explore how the city has changed and developed over time, and how people move between spaces.

The object-rich displays will include a double-decker bus, skateboards, kites and a small aircraft, as well as archive and contributed imagery of buildings and methods of transport from the city. Visitors to M Shed will be able to contribute their own stories and images relating to each section of the exhibition using the museum’s website, which will then be fed into the museum’s interactive exhibits.

Event creative director Esther Dugdale says, ’The museum wants to be the next generation, facilitating the sharing and recording of people’s own history.’

The ’M’ of the museum’s logo, which was created for Bristol City Council by True North, has been formed by words relevant to the museum. As with the interactives, these words will also change over time to reflect temporary exhibitions or new content.

The Bristol People gallery focuses on key characteristics of the city that have shaped its past and present, suggested by the inhabitants of the city. They include creativity, a desire to challenge authority and the city’s involvement in the slave trade.

Dugdale says, ’The challenging authority section has a distinctive identity, with graphic imagery of demonstrations and marchers, and a large trade union banner.’
Event has also styled the gallery in a way to amplify the user-generated dynamic.

Dugdale says, ’Many of the interactives have a You Tube feel, with news stories popping up. We wanted it to have a user-generated feel so that people feel able to contribute.’

M Shed facts

  • M Shed building design by Lab Architecture Studios
  • Identity created by True North
  • Exhibition design by Event Communications
  • Funded by £10.2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Bristol City Council, Renaissance South West and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

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