If you went with your family to the National Museum of Rural Life near Glasgow (which includes a museum, a historic farmhouse and a working farm) or the National Museum of Flight (a former airfield with displays in a series of hangars) near Edinburgh last summer, perhaps you tried out their summer trail leaflet.
I worked with the staff at NMS to produce these two new trails with illustration and design by Tea and Type . Both trails were very much a team effort with content and design ideas informing each other and valuable input from the staff on the ground.
The trails had to be packed with fun activities and to lead visitors round large disparate sites. They had to sit within the organisations branding while conveying the unique spirit of the individual sites – which when you think about it are pretty different.
We presented a number of creative proposals to the team and went forward with Heroes of Flight and Sooty’s Summer Adventure. The stops and activity ideas flowed naturally from these themes.
Sooty is the resident cat and she seemed the perfect way to bring the NMoRL trail together – whoever might have lived there in the past, she lives there now! She is basically playing tour guide in her own home and appears throughout the booklet with witticisms or comments.
My favourite thing has to be the Animal Bingo game on the map side. We were faced with the challenge of what people could do while they are walking to the farm. The animals in the fields do move about (between fields as well as on their legs) and we couldn’t tell what would be growing so we couldn’t refer to fixed items in the landscape. Animal Bingo was the result. Basically you get points for spotting farmyard animals, wildlife species and even Sooty the cat herself.
Sometimes vehicles in museum
s can feel a little distant from the lives of people who used them and we were keen to build strong personal connection between the aeroplanes and their pilots. The museum has so many aeroplanes on show it would be easy to be overwhelmed so the Heroes trail helps to focus on a few key characters. The concept of hero can be a tricky one but we did our best to keep it balanced, and ultimately it is about you becoming a hero by completing the challenges the heroes have set.