Croydon Council seeks designer for Croydon Music Heritage Trail exhibition

The exhibition will seek to demonstrate the borough’s rich musical history, from 1960s jazz to grime and drill in the 21st century.

Croydon Council has launched a tender with a capped £35,775 fee (excluding VAT) to find an exhibition designer for the Croydon Music Heritage Trail exhibition.

The scope of the brief is the exhibition design and fit out, including the strip-out and disposal of any current unwanted exhibition material, production of a maintenance plan and support throughout the life of the exhibition, remedial works and materials and improvement and reuse of museum cases. The chosen exhibition designers will also work across lighting design, interactives, interpretive tools and graphic panels.

Croydon Council details the borough’s musical history, which spans across different eras, from early 1900s composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor through to 1980/90s pop singer Kirsty MacColl and more recent artists like Nadia Rose and Stormzy. Genres like jazz and soul were prevalent in Croydon in the 60s, with punk and indie rock music emerging in the 70s, the electronic club scene in the 90s and grime and Drill in the 2000s and 2010s.

Croydon has “a rich history of music making in its Black and South Asian communities”, according to the brief. It also has information about popular music venues from past and present, including the Davis Theatre where Bill Hailey, Buddy Holly and Etta James performed and The Underground where The Stranglers, The Fall and Sputnik played. While these venues have now been closed or redeveloped, Croydon Council believes that “the memories of music lovers from that time are still with us” and that this exhibition will help to preserve them.

It will be housed inside Croydon Museum, which originally opened under the name Lifetimes in 1995 before re-opening under its present name after a major redevelopment and redesign in 2006. The Then and Now galleries sit on the upper ground floor, with the Riesco Gallery, Archives Research room and two temporary exhibition spaces (Atrium and exhibition gallery) on the lower ground floor.

The Then and Now galleries were closed due to the pandemic in 2019 and, since they were due a refurbishment, remained closed as part of Croydon’s Savings Proposal, which looked to take its at-risk objects from display to rest. The Music Heritage Project Trail exhibition will allow Croydon Council to re-open one of the three spaces in these galleries.

According to the brief, the main aims of the project are to make the collections at Croydon Museum more relevant and palatable to its audiences, change perceptions of Croydon for the better, make the experience welcoming and enjoyable and to teach people about and connect them with Croydon’s past, present and future.

The project is fully funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the payment will be made according to four milestones: 20% at start, 50% when the commissioning works are agreed, 20% on completion, and 10% after snagging is done.

The closing date for submissions is the 11 September 2023 with contract due to start on the 1 January 2024 running until September of the same year. More information on how to apply can be found here.

Banner and featured image credit: S L Weeks on Shutterstock

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