Their Past Your Future was an Imperial War Museum-managed £10 million touring exhibition funded by Big Lottery and the MLA. It achieved over 2 million non-traditional museum visitors from a vast range of audiences, in particular, people with visual impairment and youth groups.
It was a multi-stakeholder project involving the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Ministry of Defence, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council in England as well as Northern Ireland Museums Council, Scottish Museums Council and the National Library of Wales.
Headed up by Sarah Dowd, and facilitated by Patrick Peal
and Thomas Cowper-Johnson as programme leads, Paula and
the BAT team were integrated to support roll out of the travelling exhibition.
The programme required programme dissemination, stakeholder research and engagement sessions, as well as provided training on audience development, visitor profiling, brand awareness and campaign and programme planning to over 30 different organisations across the UK.
The workshops were devised not just as a method of information dissemination, but participatory seminars that encouraged the teams to share experience, recognise commonalities and engage in activities such as film-making, illustrations, role play and trivia quizzes. In addition to this, a project extranet was set up for training recipients to share experiences, hold resources for both education and marketing teams and provide guidance on future projects and funding streams.
One particular area of interest was the development of elements for the visually impaired to accompany the nine simultaneous touring exhibitions, outreach learning kits and student travel programme. Working with the education team and RNIB, BAT designed and produced tactile books in English and Welsh, and a specialist promotional campaign was created using a tactile Christmas card that understood the varying levels of visual impairment. With a soft, touchable cover, embossing of images, braille and large-print, this piece of collateral targeted specialist organisations and encouraged them to share the materials with their visually impairment members.
Responses to the campaign were excellent, with comments such as ‘we’ve never had such excellent materials sent to us that really understands how our members experience learning’.
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"Paula Lain of Be a Tiger formed an integral part of Tribe PR’s management team as exhibitions consultant for Their Past Your Future, a £10 million touring exhibition, comprising 9 stands travelling simultaneously to over 72 venues UK wide.
Her contribution helped the team to direct the marketing, PR and communications function of the project and the dispersal of powerful and engaging messages across the five branches of the museum and multiple project partners; as a result, the programme achieved over 2 million non traditional museum visitors in under 12 months.
The project itself received over £5 million in PR coverage with over 20 million opportunities to see in the media."