Casson Mann creates Lord Ashcroft Gallery for Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum in London is set to open the new Lord Ashcroft Gallery, with interior and exhibition design by Casson Mann. Businessman Lord Ashcroft donated £5m to the museum to pay for the gallery and exhibition.

Casson Mann was appointed in spring, following a four-way creative unpaid pitch in January.

The gallery will house the Extraordinary Heroes show, featuring Lord Ashcroft’s collection of 162 Victoria Crosses, alongside the museum’s collection of 48 VCs and 31 George Crosses.

Casson Mann director Roger Mann says, ‘Medal galleries are very difficult because they are not the most interesting objects to a big audience, but they do represent extraordinary actions, which it was our challenge to communicate.’

The exhibition will be divided into seven different themes: leadership, sacrifice, aggression, skill, initiative, endurance and boldness.

Multimedia touch-screen installations will reveal the life stories of the people who won the awards. A life-sized shark will hang from the ceiling, representing the actions of Cadet David Hay’s action in World War II to save shipwreck survivors from shark-infested waters.

The exhibition will also feature items worn and used by war heroes. These include the backpack of Lance Corporal Matt Croucher in Afghanistan in 2008, which suffered extensive damage when he threw himself onto a grenade to smother its explosion.

The Lord Ashcroft Gallery and Extraordinary Heroes exhibition open on 12 November.

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