Compared to the fast-paced world of exhibitions and bespoke stand building, creating museum exhibits can feel like standing still, but it's just as excting and skilful a pursuit.
At Full Circle Events we've developed a strong reputation for creating museum exhibits for institutions as diverse as Greenfield Heritage Park, Saddleworth Museum and Bangor Museum, working with design agencies to lift their displays and exhibits off the drawing board and into reality.
Broadly speaking, the process of building museum exhibits is much the same as constructing exhibition stands, we use the same materials, tools and processes to create customised, semi-permanent structures of wildly varying sizes and designs. Of course, the constructions themselves are quite different, and in many cases they need to be more robust than exhibition stands, because their life cycle is that much longer, being installed for months and even years, rather than a few days. The biggest differences are that we focus on an even greater attention to fine detail, use higher specification materials that will endure for longer, and need to work much more carefully on the installation of the structure itself.
Unlike exhibition installations, which are always carried out under immense time pressure, typical museum exhibits installations occur during full or partial museum re-fits, and we're able to keep to normal working hours and speeds. The real challenges come from constructing exhibits in what are often old and unusual buildings, rather than the purpose-built exhibition spaces with their perfectly smooth floors and high ceilings.
Frequently, museums are housed in listed buildings and thus come with a long list of restictions on how we can fix and fit the structures in place, ruling out any drilling or permanent alterations to the fabric of the building. Often floors will be worn and uneven, and, as anyone who has refurbished a period property will tell you, there's rarely a right angle to be found anywhere.
Our work always starts witha detailed site survey, where we look closely at the plans from the design agency, and map it onto the given space in the museum. Frequently at this point, we will need to modify designs in small ways, ensuring that they can be fixed in place without compromising the fabric of the building and that there are no unsightly gaps or joins.
What we learn from building museum exhibits feeds directly into the pool of expertise we draw on for our other activitie, and it's where we have a little more time to develop the techniques and skills that enable us to deliver exhibition stands with outstanding attention to detail and a premium finish. Innovating and refining techniques is much easier when you're not working to a 72 hour deadline on an exhibition, and in the more relaxed atmosphere of the museum build, we've often alighted upon solutions that we've been able to successfully employ elsewhere.
Building museum exhibits is an important part of our portfolio of expertise, and gives us a wider perspective on the construction of temporary structures as a whole and a better understanding of what works when we're constructing for diverse audiences, unusual spaces and unique designs.