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The Wedgwood Museum, Staffordshire

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…these PC’s hidden within the museum cases, tucked into nooks and crannies or housed in bespoke units it was decided to house all the controlling PCs in one central, air conditioned, IT Computer Room.

The Wedgwood Museum houses a unique record of the entire history of the Wedgwood ceramic company from the early 18th Century to the present day. The collection was first displayed to the public in 1906 however by 2000 it was proving too popular for its existing premises so the decision was made to raise funds for a new museum.

Official Opening

The 24th October 2008 saw the official opening of the new museum by Hilary Kay, one of the BBC’s Antiques Road Show experts. This followed eight years of hard international fundraising to achieve a total of £10.5 million – including £4.8 million from the HLF. The new futuristic museum building houses some of Britain’s rarest treasures, with contemporary design, multimedia interpretation and interactive displays. In total the museum holds around 6,000 Wedgwood artefacts, some of which have never been seen by the public before and over 75,000 original manuscripts. The sweeping complex at the heart of the Wedgwood factory is expected to attract over 100,000 visitors a year from around the world.

Audio-Visual Installation

Interactive-Table-Install-by-Blackbox-av-for-Wedgwood-Museum

blackbox-av was commissioned by Intelligent Heritage to supply and install a challenging IT solution that met the museum’s requirements. To run the widely dispersed interactives and displays dotted around the museum required around forty PCs in total. Rather than have these PC’s hidden within the museum cases, tucked into nooks and crannies or housed in bespoke units it was decided to house all the controlling PCs in one central, air conditioned, IT Computer Room. The museum designers – Ivor Heal Design Ltd– included an “Information Ribbon” that ran the length of the galleries; the clean lines and standard design of these units was another reason to use a central control room. This meant that some of the displays could be up to 150 metres from the PC actually running their presentation.

Control Room & Networked Interactives

Blackbox-av-Interactive-Installation-at-Wedgwood-Museum

blackbox-av installed nearly forty rack-mounted PCs in the control room, providing content for a variety of display units around the museum, including conventional projectors, ultra short throw projectors, LCD monitors, Touchscreen systems and audio information points. Each PC and display unit are connected to Adderlink KVM Extender devices which enable long distance communication across a CAT5 network cable. These devices ensured that the response times of the interactives when a visitor pressed a button or touched a screen was lightning fast with minimal loss of image quality. Our IT programmers developed and installed software based control systems for the control room enabling blackbox-av to remotely manage the whole system and an easy to use graphical user interface for the curators to locally manage the system as well. We also installed a range of presentational equipment in the attached education suite including projectors and a portable lectern control suite.

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