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Transforming the Polar Museum

A new museum for Britain's polar heritage

Architecture and design

The Institute is pleased to be working with Blue the Design Company ltd on the development of the Polar Museum.

ISG Cathedral were appointed as main building contractors and work on the building ran from early July to December 2009.

Fit-out contractors, the workhaus, have installed the new suite of showcases and museum graphics.

Design rationale

Careful consideration has been given to the site, the audience and the interpretive aims, themes and objectives:

  • The interpretation must demonstrably enhance access to SPRI's rich heritage. It must provide good intellectual, sensory and physical access, and be fully integrated with SPRI's audience development objectives.
  • The interpretation must meet the needs and expectations of a broad range of visitors and ensure that no-one is excluded, whilst leaving room for self-directed enquiry amongst visitors.
  • The interpretation must enhance the inherent qualities of the visitor experience, which will be a journey of discovery from the moment of arrival through the newly re-opened front entrance.
  • SPRI's staff and volunteers will continue to a vital component of the interpretation, offering a wide range of formal and informal talks, events, demonstrations and activities.
  • The key function of the interpretation inside the Polar Museum should be to provoke and encourage visitors to investigate the polar regions for themselves.
  • The breadth and depth of the collections means that the permanent displays need to be flexible enough to introduce a wide range of stories. Beyond this initial introduction, further detailed content should be accessible for those who want to explore individual subjects further.
  • The indoor displays need to work within the constraints set by the Museum's architecture. Most of the spaces will be multi-function, and the entrance hall (The Domes) has a strong presence. The interpretation should also create a sense of 'light and shade' and variety in terms of the media and designs encountered in different spaces. The overall effect is to be elegant, clean, modern and uncluttered.
  • The interpretation must be financially sustainable in the long-term and support SPRI's business plan through direct and indirect income generation.
  • The overall impact of the interpretation must be to create a visitor experience of the highest quality and satisfaction.

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