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Specialist firms appointed to create new exhibitions at restored Scapa Flow Museum

Scapa Flow Museum
Scapa Flow Museum

Seven specialist firms have been appointed to create a new redesigned exhibition at the Scapa Flow Museum.

A £4.4million restoration project is currently underway at the wartime museum in Orkney.

Significant progress was made earlier this month when the multi-disciplinary specialist team visited the site to transform the visitor experience.

The personnel were selected following a competitive tendering process by Orkney Islands Council.

Nick Lewitt, culture team leader at Orkney Islands Council, said: “These visits represent a real milestone in the museum’s redevelopment.

“It marks the start of moving from a construction focus, to one that every museum professional loves – that is, the work of building in the layers of detail which brings a collection alive and draws the stories of its artefacts to the fore.”

Who is involved?

The specialists involved in the team include award-winning exhibition designers Studio MB, exhibition outfitters Marcon and graphic designers Rocketbox Design Ltd.

Craig Mann, founding partner of Studio MB, said it was exciting to see the project progress having been involved with the redevelopment since 2015.

He said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see the exhibition fit-out now preparing to commence on site with such a great set of contractors to help deliver the vision that we and the council’s museums team have worked so hard to create.”

Mountmakers Colin Lindley and Kate Silverston are designing and building custom-made supports for the artefacts to be displayed in.

They have been removing the HMS Royal Oak brass letters from the previous displays in preparation for the reopening this summer.

Mountmakers Colin Lindley and Kate Silverston at work removing the Royal Oak letters. Supplied by Orkney Islands Council.

Scriptwriter Allan Carswell is devising the flow of the story told by the museum as a whole and in the galleries.

Audiovisual specialists Ay-Pe are developing a series of short films on Scapa Flow to be shown at the museum.

A Virtual Reality (VR) display is also being developed by the School of Computer Science at St Andrews University, with funding from CUPIDO.

Bringing the story to life

Sited at the former Royal Naval Base HMS Proserpine, on the island of Hoy, the Scapa Flow Museum charts Orkney’s involvement in the First World War and Second World War.

It is currently being extended and a refurbishment is being carried out on its historic oil pumphouse.

Gwenda Shearer, chairwoman of Orkney Island Council’s education, leisure and housing committee, said: “Scapa Flow Museum tells the story of Orkney as epicentre of the Royal Navy’s war efforts during the world wars, and the massive impact this had on our remote island communities who suddenly found themselves a major part of the machinery of conflict.

“The improvements to the museum and associated conservation works have been long awaited by our museums team and by the local community – and by enthusiasts of wartime history around the world.

“We can’t wait to bring that story to life for many, many more people when the Museum reopens in summer 2022.”

Scapa Flow Museum will open all year from summer 2022, encouraging more people to visit Hoy and boosting tourism throughout Orkney.

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