BMAG Story Lab: The Past Is Now

Story Lab is a series of changing exhibitions at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery designed to test new themes, storylines and displays and so help inform future developments at the museum.

The Creative Core worked with Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to create an exhibition space which could be tailored to changing, co-curated exhibitions. We designed the gallery space to appear like a work in progress, a space for visitors to test and evaluate interpretation techniques, stories and displays.

The project team were keen to work with local communities and under-represented groups to co-curate new exhibitions and facilitate opportunities for feedback and input into the museum’s future.

Our task was to create a gallery that functioned as a neutral exhibition template, allowing new content to be applied as exhibitions changed during the co-curation process. Design solutions for this ‘testing lab’ enable maximum flexibility and engagement opportunities, appealing to different audience needs. Our work included modular seating, table-top plinths and integrated display cases, allowing the display of a broad selection of objects from the museum collections.

The first iteration of the Story Lab, ‘The Past is Now’ examines new perspectives on empire and Britain’s colonial past. After taking part in co-curation workshops to determine the needs of the exhibition, we developed the graphic design to support co-curated content, as well as low-tech interactive feedback stations and social media prompts.