Follow our new series of blogs, as we journey from the past to modern concept, to physical reality in the making of the ‘Line of Kings’, opening at the Tower of London in 2013.
In our first instalment Karen Whitting, Head of Creative Programmes at the Royal Armouries tells us about those crucial first few steps.
All the best projects at delivery have started from a great idea, supported at every stage of development.
From 2007, that idea for Royal Armouries at the Tower of London was to create a showcase for our prestigious collection, embedded in the history of the Tower, which would attract visitors from all over the world. It was supported by a wide range of stakeholders – from our partners Historic Royal Palaces to sponsors such as HistoryTM, DCMS/Wolfson Galleries Improvement Fund – without whom delivering this vision would have been impossible.
Our mission: To deliver a complete re-display of Royal Armouries’ collections and stories in the White Tower, the iconic building at the heart of the Tower site, to be enjoyed by over 2 million visitors a year.
Our challenge: To ensure that access for visitors was kept open throughout and that each new exhibition was complete in itself, offering a great experience to both first time and repeat audiences.
Our plan: To research, develop, design and deliver a series of exhibitions opening annually – starting with a temporary exhibition ‘Henry VIII: Dressed to Kill’ for 2009 and completing in 2013 with the ‘Line of Kings.’
Our team: At each stage a team of Royal Armouries and Historic Royal Palaces’ staff has been gathered with skills to support the projects at every stage of their development, through to finishing touches before the exhibition is revealed. This internal team has been complemented with a vast range of external experts and suppliers – carrying out tasks from concept drawings to electrical wiring.
Our exhibitions: These teams have delivered stunning exhibitions showcasing extraordinary objects and fascinating stories from the Royal Armouries’ collection, which have achieved hugely positive feedback from White Tower visitors. The programme included:
Henry VIII: Dressed to Kill –April 2009-January 2010
Fit for a King – opened March 2010
Treasures of the Royal Armouries – opened March 2010
Powerhouse – opened March 2011
Storehouse – opened March 2012
The final piece of the jigsaw is a new exhibition for 2013, which started its development over a year ago with a research project which was to turn all our plans on their heads and give us the opportunity of a lifetime to reveal the story of the longest running visitor attraction in the world…
For more information about exhibitions at the Tower of London visit our website.