February 14, 2023

Adventure Play for Museums


The new adventure play at Blists Hill Ironbridge Gorge Museum designed by CAP.Co

We have and are currently working with a number of museums across the UK to create a play space to extend their offer, increase dwell time and add new layers to the stories they tell. But, what is a museum. According to wikipedia "A museum is a building or institution that cares for and displays a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance."

For us, it's more than this.

It's much more than just caring for and displaying exhibits, it's about bringing them to life and allowing their stories and the lives of the people who lived and worked with them to come alive in the eyes of the visitors.

Museums come in all shapes and sizes. Indoor, outdoor, big and small. Some are static displays of exhibits, but increasingly, the face of museums are changing to be more interactive, immersive and they're working to find new ways of creating engaging content.

Where we add immersion and adventure to museum play

Our work with museums is to add immersive play that reflects the history and brings their own unique stories to life. This allows visitors to live the stories of their forebears and play within an interpretation of the exhibits.

Our play design for attractions is every bit as imaginative and bespoke, but these examples that follow, show how we create unique, immersive play for museums.

Madeley Wood Co.

Our design team work very closely with the museum team to deliver historic authenticity and extraordinary play value. A good example of this in practice is our work with Blists Hill Victorian Village. Blists Hill is a working Victorian town in Ironbridge, Shropshire, situated within a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This project included a 3-storey mine building set into a giant sandpit with multi-level sand-play, multi-level walkways, clamber walls and zip lines. Even the sand is black to replicate the coal mined there to power the industry of the region.

Working with the challenging topography of the site, a key feature is the giant coal chute tube slide that descends down into the gorge leading you to the saw mill, another 3-storey play structure with bungee maze, a musical organ and multiple ladders.

Eureka Merseyside

Opened in November 2022, Eureka! Mersey isn't a children’s museum nor a traditional science centre, or anything to which it could be easily compared. It is the sister to Eureka! The National Children’s Museum in Halifax, that opened in 1992, with this new site expected to attract around 180,000 visitors every year and contribute £12m to the local economy by 2032

It has its own distinct identity that comes from the co-creation process. It's focused around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) but designed to bring these subjects to life through fun, exploration, experimentation and designed to encourage curiosity.

Within this museum, we created a hero exhibit, the Climbing Tree which provides both a physical clambering and immersive experience within the central void space of the museum and visible from the car park, entrance and ticketing areas. This key feature within the space builds excitement and provides a teaser or glimpse of things to come as they journey through the space. Offering multiple levels of explorative play, the Climbing Tree is designed to be suitable for all ages and abilities.

When it comes to the even younger visitors, we have created the Field Mouse Nest. This is an interactive feature within the under 5’s area. It's an oversized nest-like structure that provides a safe, educational and intriguing space to cater for young adventurers to the museum.

Masterplanning adventure play for museums

We work with both new build museums and those steeped in their own history, to introduce a play element to the museum offer. We love to be involved at masterplanning stage to work with you to find ways of weaving adventure play throughout the space, inside and out.

If we can help you with your own museum play plan, then please get in touch. We'd love to come and visit and start dreaming together.

Tel: +44(0) 800 009 6907
Email: museums@wearecapco.com

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