The Land of Oak & Iron focuses on the Derwent Valley and the surrounding area in the north east of England. The region has a fascinating industrial heritage of pioneering ironworks, steel furnaces and sword making; a beautiful natural heritage of steeply wooded valleys and a rich cultural heritage of rapper dancing, music and arts. Groundwork NE & Cumbria appointed Imagemakers to develop and deliver a programme of traditional and digital interpretation at the new Heritage Centre in Winlaton, the Tyne Riverside Centre in Prudhoe and The Lodge in Blackhill and Consett Park.
The main feature of the interpretive design scheme is a layered map using different textures to represent the Land of Oak & Iron project area and icons highlighting the primary landscape and visitor features. This piece of artwork helps with orientation but also provides a dominant visual presence in the building, the colours from which were taken as cues for the interior décor throughout. The map is duplicated on two touchscreen kiosks which are supplied with a content management system to allow the client to add new points of interest and digging deeper information. Local volunteers have been trained to update the touchscreens as they unearth new stories through their research.
The 1781 survey of the Winlaton Ironworks site is printed on acrylic and overlays a modern map, to help visitors understand the context and scale of the industrial past in relation to the landscapes they can see today.
The primary object display, designed to be updatable, is set upon a 1m diameter piece of oak, felled from a local woodland. Other interpretive media include lines from the Ring-Makers poem, sign-written on the building’s exposed steel columns, children’s activity booklet, events screen and a themed snakes and ladders game that families play in the café area.
Imagemakers designed and built the café shrub website and social media accounts and provided training to allow the client team to update and use both effectively.