Scottish design agency, Studio MB, is celebrating after a recent project was shortlisted for the prestigious European Museum of the Year Award 2019.
The Edinburgh-based design agency was challenged to transform the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth to bring the narrative to life for 21st century audiences, ensuring that the story was kept alive for future generations.
The overwhelming scale of the enterprise was addressed by the simple idea, ‘the epic made personal, the personal made epic’. The tremendous success of this project which recreated the museum as The D-Day Story has now secured a place in the finals of this prestigious award.
The D-Day Story is run by Portsmouth Museums (Portsmouth City Council) and tells the story of the events that led up to D-Day on 6th June 1944. Next month marks the 75th anniversary of the historic day which will be commemorated with a series of events at the museum itself. Holding more than 10,000 items, the museum continually preserves, researches and acquires objects to share with the public through exhibitions, workshops and other activities.
The European Museum of the Year Award is the most prestigious museum accolade in Europe. Delivered by the European Museum Forum, one of the leading organisations for developing the public quality of European museums, the award will be presented on Saturday 25th May at the War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Fresh perspectives on the D-Day Story are presented in completely remodelled and rearranged gallery spaces, with many never-before-seen exhibits. From both a military and a civilian viewpoint, The D-Day Story moves exhibitions beyond those of a ‘military museum’ towards an experience rich in the humanity of its stories.
Studio MB, based in Edinburgh’s historic New Town, won the commission for the design of The D-Day Project in February 2015, and over the next three years went on to deliver a comprehensive design and build service, including exhibition and interpretive design, graphic design and creative direction of AV hardware and software design, through to its procurement, manufacture and installation.
Over the three year museum transformation project, Studio MB collaborated with and were supported by Hampshire City Council Property Services, Sharman Shaw Exhibitions, Focus, ay-pe, Sysco Productions, and interpretive planners Kirsty Devine and Lucy Harland. The museum was re-opened to the public at a Royal ceremony on 30th March 2018.
Craig Mann, Founding Director at Studio MB, said:
“Our redesign of The D-Day Story has been one of our most enlightening projects to date. D-Day is one of humanity’s greatest narratives, and the immersive, interactive exhibitions within The D-Day Story connects contemporary audiences with a crucial part of European history. We’re delighted to see The D-Day Story shortlisted for the continent’s most prestigious award of its kind, the European Museum of the Year Award.”
Dr Jane Mee, Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services Manager, said:
“Studio MB has worked with us to create a museum attraction that has exceeded our expectations and those of the majority of our visitors. The museum is truly transformed. It is absorbing, moving and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
“The Studio MB team were clearly as passionate about the project as we were, so the exchange of ideas as the project developed was always lively and thought-provoking and has resulted in something special.”
Founded in Edinburgh in 2004 by directors Craig Mann and Charlie Barr, Studio MB is an award-winning design agency with more than 15 years’ experience in transforming heritage hot-spots and brand experiences all over the world. Recent projects have included Leicester’s King Richard III Visitor Centre, the Titanic Belfast Visitor Experience, the Triumph Factory Visitor Experience, The Story of JCB Customer Experience, and The Al Salam Palace Museum in Kuwait.
For more information about Studio MB and to learn more about The D-Day Story redevelopment, please visit www.studiomb.co.uk.
To find out more about the European Museum of the Year Award, please visit https://europeanforum.museum.
To discover more about The D-Day Story, visit https://theddaystory.com.