A dramatic escape story for King Charles II at Boscobel House

PLB’s creative, interpretive and management skills were called upon when Boscobel House needed a new approach to visitor engagement.

This picturesque timber-framed hunting lodge is where King Charles II famously took refuge after fleeing for his life following Civil War defeat. During lockdown, Boscobel House wanted to hone in on its target audiences, reinvigorate its offering and serve up something special.

That’s where our interpretive, creative and planning skills allowed us to make all the difference.

Bringing the story to life

We were commissioned to develop the theme of hide and seek, bringing together a combination of traditional interpretation techniques and cutting-edge technology. Storylines of the Civil War and Charles II at Boscobel House, the wider dairy and farm experience, and the oak tree where he famously hid, were all brought together to recreate a pivotal point in the history of England.

Our works included:

  • Interpretive planning, to develop all the themes, messages and stories that the museum wanted to convey to visitors
  • Production specification and project management, to ensure everything ran smoothly and went according to plan
  • Creative scheme design and visitor orientation, to create new ways to open up exhibition spaces and improve visitor circulation
  • Graphic design and artwork, to bring together all the visual elements of the museum using references from historic archives
  • AV development, to spark the imagination of visitors and extend the hide and seek theme, as well as ensuring the preservation of artefacts
  • Exhibition display and showcase production, to present items clearly, securely and appropriately, conveying the Boscobel House story in meaningful ways
  • Site supervision and signoff, to ensure all aspects of the project were delivered on time, to spec and in budget

During the strategic planning, two key visitor segments were identified, the Culture Seekers, a well-established audience, and the Shared Explorers, which Boscobel House wanted to nurture and expand. The installations and activities were planned and designed to attract, engage and develop both these groups.

A combination of technology and antiquity shines through

Opened in 2021, this highly interactive experience is built around an electronic candle device, which visitors collect on entry. Designed to look like a traditional candle, this gadget activates hidden audio and filmed content throughout the house.

We also created illustrations, animations and artworks, which feature throughout the site and emphasise the hide and seek theme. They chart the progress of Cromwell’s soldiers as they searched for Charles throughout the house and the wider site.

New external signage and trails link the experience across the house, gardens, farmyard and play area, and extend to the nearby White Ladies Priory.

If you’d like to take a closer look at what we achieved, here’s a Boscobel House video that explores one of the greatest Royal adventure stories of all time.

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