Casson Mann’s designs for the Churchill Museum will be unveiled next week, when the museum is officially opened in central London by HRH the Queen. As a £6m extension to the Cabinet War Rooms it is the world’s first major museum dedicated to the life and achievements of the writer, soldier, painter and politician Sir Winston Churchill.
The museum is the culmination of two years’ work for Casson Mann, which was appointed in June 2003 after being selected from an original list of around 40 consultancies (DW 12 June 2003). Branding and marketing group Marstellar created the museum’s visual identity, as well as signage for the exhibition and war rooms (DW 28 October 2004). Casson Mann is lead consultant on the Churchill project and selected external designers in graphics, lighting, sound, interactive software and film-making.
The exhibition attempts to offer a ‘warts and all’ experience of Churchill and his life, which is divided into five chapters. ‘We have tried to create a room full of glimpses into the mind of an extraordinary man; a place that enables the visitor to feel that they have met the man, faults and all,’ says Casson Mann director Roger Mann.
A vast archive of material was a valuable, but problematic resource, as delicate documents cannot be displayed for conservation reasons and the majority of visitors would probably struggle to read more than a few pieces, says Mann.
To present this material in a palatable format, the group created the Lifeline, an 18m-long interactive table and continuous projection screen that Mann believes is the largest interactive installation yet in a museum. The Lifeline acts as a virtual archive containing over 1500 documents and 500 photographs filed in chronological ‘desk folders’.