From family home to military hospital to town museum, Luton’s Wardown House is a museum which had lost its Victorian essence. With an eclectic mix of thousands of objects in the museum stores unavailable to the people of Luton, we were commissioned by Luton Culture to reimagine, repurpose and refresh the museum to tell the story of Luton’s and Wardown’s rich history.
There was a consciousness to move away from a traditional museum display of objects. Instead the Victorian history of Wardown House is presented with a modern, quirky twist. This is manifested through an array of innovative uses of technology – such as the interactive billiards table – and cabinets of curiosity brimming with the museum’s hidden treasures.
The few display panels used are seamlessly integrated, making them appear part of the furniture. The thoughtful use of AV technology and interactive guides enhance the educational experience of visitors and invite hands-on exploration and discovery.
After an engaging tour of the house, visitors are able to re-energise themselves in this steampunk, shabby chiq dining room under the gentle light of an extravagant and unique teacup chandelier. Framed 3D objects extruding from walls and collections of objects within table tops help bring heritage to life.
We worked closely with Luton Culture to realise this project, initially producing concept designs in support of a second round HLF funding bid before then developing detailed designs and managing specialist sub-contractors to bring the project to life.
Elise Naish, Head of Heritage and Collections, Luton Culture
Museums Association Journal Review
Wardown House received a positive review from the Museums Association Journal. The review said “…on the day of my visit the museum was clearly attracting diverse audiences who were enjoying a shared experience that celebrates their town. At this time of heightened concern for social cohesion, there’s a lot to be said for that.” It was also encouraging to read their thoughts on the billiard table. The review says “…an impressive digital touch table that enables visitors to play billiards or explore the story of Luton via an intuitive map-based interface.”
More highlights from the review can be read here.