The museum’s redevelopment will include the complete redesign of the 38 960m2 central Moscow building and the creation of a satellite site, transforming the institution into a state-of-the-art science museum. It is hoped the museum will open in 2016.
The concept study, which Event has been briefed to deliver in February 2011, will include setting the parameters for the building’s refurbishment, including designing the approach, creating storylines for exhibitions, managing the budget and organising staff structures. Event will also apply for the role of exhibition designer, says Event creative director Esther Dugdale.
Event was appointed by the museum following a two-stage competition, which began with credentials-led applications. Three other consultancies – US-based Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Spanish group Cosmocaixa and US-Canadian consultancy Lord Cultural Resources, – were shortlisted in July and asked to submit proposals for a concept study.
The Event team also includes exhibition consultant Ben Gammon, previously head of learning and audience development at London’s Science Museum, and Glasgow Life, the charity that delivers cultural services on behalf of Glasgow City Council and looks after that city’s key museums.
Dugdale says, ’The strength of our team was attractive to [the museum] as it gains our creative flair, but also the practicality of business and experience of planning, curating and training museum staff.’
The initial brief was to submit plans for a concept study, which would explore how to display the museum’s collections as well as establishing it as a world-leading institution and a centre of Russian innovation.
Event’s proposal centred on an innovation hub, which includes a combination of social spaces to encourage creativity, educational units and innovation and science media centres.
The consultancy plans for the main site to be used predominantly by the public and for the satellite site, potentially based at Moscow State University campus, to allow exploration of the collections at a higher education level.
The plan would see the galleries, called workshops, explore topics using examples from the past, shown in ’history banks’, and from the present and potential future developments at innovation benches. Exhibitions will also include immersive spaces which show the sociological impact of technological and scientific changes.
Dugdale says, ’Politically, it’s a big thing for [the museum] to have looked internationally. It’s not that long since everything was quite closed there.’
Dating back to the 1870s, the museum is one of the oldest science and technology museums in the world, with a collection of more than 912 000 objects
The Polytechnic Museum Development Foundation was set up by the decree of the Russian Ministry of Culture
The jury consisted of 16 international experts including Russian minister of culture Alexander A Avdeev, presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich, and former director of London’s Science Museum Sir Neil Cossons