National Maritime Museum

Interactive audio-visual exhibits alongside raw materials, commodities and artefacts. John Ronayne design practice for designing museum displays, National Maritime Museum project.




museum and exhibition design

National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum permanent exhibition

This £450k permanent gallery explores historic connections across the ocean, particularly the slave trade which furnished 18th-century Europe with riches from the American colonies.

The display uses sample goods to show how raw materials such as suger, cotton, tobacco and coffee were refined into luxury commodities for the chattering classes in Georgian London and elsewhere. Among the 200-plus objects, the brutality of slavery is evidenced by, for example, manacles, whips, prison deck layouts and even a real guillotine.

Audio testimonies are triggered in front of particular exhibits, and a large audiovisual touch-table stands at each end of the gallery for visitors to interrogate a flow of imagery revealing stories of both repression and rebellion.