A town’s history revealed through a wealth of tales

PLB was commissioned to design the redevelopment of the Grade I Listed King’s Lynn Town Hall and Gaol House, as part of a successful NLHF bid.

Central to the project was the need to present the archives and collections of the Borough, to reveal the town’s history from its origins and first charter to today’s civic life. This needed to be done in a way that would connect with and inspire families and history enthusiasts alike.

It was time for us to step in and shine.

Bringing the story to life

By combining high and low tech, we were able to inspire deep connections with exhibits. We integrated digital interpretation, bringing stories to life with living portraits of Kings Lynn characters, and created opportunities to engage with the architecture of the Town Hall.

With dressing up, games and hands-on activities, we also encouraged interactivity through traditional play.

To showcase a trove of treasures, including the unique King John Cup – a lavish 14th-century secular drinking vessel – we implemented high level conservation and security cases. A sea of silverware was displayed to reflect the town’s maritime connections.

Our involvement included:

  • Interpretive planning, to develop all the themes, messages and stories that the museum wanted to convey to visitors
  • Creative scheme design and visitor orientation, incorporating stories of the seafarers, explorers, merchants, mayors, magistrates and miscreants who have shaped King’s Lynn
  • Graphic design and artwork, to bring together all the visual elements of the town hall and gaol using references from historic archives
  • Interactive design, to immerse visitors in the ambience of the building
  • Exhibition display and showcase production, to present items clearly, securely and appropriately, conveying the museum’s story in meaningful ways
  • Project management, site supervision and signoff, to ensure all aspects of the project were delivered on time, to spec and in budget
  • AV development, to spark the imagination of visitors and create living portraits of Kings Lynn characters, as well as ensuring the preservation of artefacts
  • Scriptwriting and editing, to create human connections, inspire action and build narratives around the artefacts, collections and surroundings

We also revitalised the Old Gaol experience through reinterpretation, creating an atmospheric and engaging exploration for all ages. This includes a chilling display of a skull, preserved from the 19th century and belonging to a schoolteacher convicted of murder.

An installation befitting a significant medieval port town

This stunning new attraction brings local history to life, delving into more than 800 years of heritage. Our careful choice of colours has created a jewel-like impact within the vaulted spaces, contrasting the light and bright areas of the gallery with the dark spaces of the Treasures of Lynn exhibition.

With our layered interpretation, we have achieved a depth of content which speaks to the traditional older audience, while still engaging families in fun, educational activities.

Explore the stories of Lynn, and discover how we helped to depict a meaningful social history, informing and entertaining a wide range of audiences.

The end result is a very high quality, engaging and exciting installation which brings vividly to life the stories of Lynn. Working with PLB has resulted in a thrilling and eye-catching display, which has been well received by both the client team and the many visitors.

Mark Fuller, Principal Project Surveyor

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