Bristol’s SS Great Britain, the steam-and-sail-powered ship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, will open a museum early next summer, featuring exhibition design by David McCabe Design and interactive installations by HB Source.
The developments are part of a wider programme of conservation and rebranding taking place at the site in the Great Western Dockyard by the SS Great Britain Trust. Bristol marketing and design consultancy BCLO is currently working on the logo and visual treatment, also scheduled for introduction next year. Interactive specialist HB Source is producing two large-scale exhibits that will use a combination of some of the ship’s original iron artefacts, alongside modern replica material. The consultancy was appointed to the work in May this year, following an initial tender in January.
‘To switch the ship from steam to wind power, its propeller was hoisted out of the water to reduce drag,’ explains consultancy project development head Tobias Lumb. A 16-ton, two-storey structure will allow visitors to raise and lower the ship’s propeller by mechanically operating the original 1857 lifting frame.
A second interactive installation offers visitors the opportunity to sail the ship under audio commands from the ‘captain’, navigating through a computer-generated environment displayed on a 3m-wide screen.
HB Source’s designs build on original concepts for the museum created by David McCabe Design, which is also advising on spaces within the ship, including the captain’s state room and berth.