Our museum in Chichester has run an exhibition about the astronaut Tim Peake for the last year or so. Tim was bought up locally and went to the Chichester High School for Boys so locals are rightly proud of him. And they should also be proud of this award-winning exhibition.
I have been three times and on the final visit this week I was alone in the room (it was near to closing!) and I looked around carefully to work just what it was that made the exhibition so engaging for people of all ages.
Lift Off - before you even get to the exhibition you enter the lift which has been transformed to feel like the inside of a shuttle, immediately building anticipation.
Video - the use of video is really strong. The minute you step out of the lift you are faced with a screen with Tim welcoming you. Inside there are at least 7 screens and the various films are showing all the time, no horrible pushing a button just to find nothing is working. The constantly moving images and low sound add to the atmosphere.
Interactive - there are various simple but fun activities which all ages enjoy, from trying to pick up small objects with big gloves on to completing a personality test to see which space job would suit you.
Information - there is lots of information but in such small bites that you end up reading loads of it. Everything is broken down into short paragraphs all set at an easy-to-ready height. Clear headings immediately draw you to the things you want to know about - space experiments,
eating in space, keeping clean in space etc.
This exhibition worked on so many levels and has been well received with the museum getting a substantial increase in footfall while it has been on, which just goes to show the power of good design!