Armoury in Action at the Tower
hsd reconnects with Royal Armouries for new Tower of London project
hsd has been commissioned by the Royal Armouries in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces to upgrade the popular Hands on History gallery, first installed on the top floor of the White Tower in 2007, with a new exhibition called Armoury in Action.
Our brief has been to create an engaging, sustainable and family-friendly experience, whilst catering for very high visitor numbers and a diverse audience profile. The emphasis is on activity and interaction but must also move visitors through the space as the location of the gallery is at the exit to the White Tower where queues can form in peak times.
The approach to the content was to look at the people involved at the White Tower throughout history, from the Norman Conquest to the present day. Visitors are invited to learn about a character from one of six distinct historical periods who would have worked at the Tower.
The interactive exhibit is based around the job that character performed. A mixture of mechanical and digital interactives allows visitors to test their own skills and gain an understanding of what was required to fulfil that role.
The gallery layout is based on an intuitive and cohesive visitor experience which is easy to navigate and to interact with. Freedom of movement is vital to allow visitors to explore the space in their own way. This freedom of movement also helps to accommodate large numbers of visitors of varying dwell times and levels of interest, by dissipating them throughout the gallery space.
While visitors are free to choose their own route through the space, the graphic design and use of material finishes creates a unified experience and also underpins the chronological narrative. The graphic styling, with use of different colours and icons for each of the interpretive zones, enables visitors to understand where they are in time.
The new Armoury in Action exhibit opened to the public on 15 December 2016 and hsd got a sneak peek on the evening of 14 December.