Portfolio of work - exhibition design, collections care and more

At The Company Curator

Ecclesiastical Insurance, Gloucester 2019-2021

The client had undocumented collections in various places. The brief was to collate, assess and document a new whole collection and to use these as the basis for new displays.

image of old books and documents

A single, cohesive company collection representing all areas of its work has been created. (stock photo)

Disused archival material

Each item is being measured, photographed, numbered, documented and shelved. (stock photo)

girl looking at pictures in an art gallery exhibition

Collection items will be used in new displays at the company’s new flagship building. (stock photo)

Platform 5, Oxford 2020 - 2021

The clients wanted a historical feel for their cafe-restaurant, which is situated in the Great Western Railway Hotel in Oxford and was built in 1934. I chose a period look to reflect a glamourous vintage rail travel theme with a bold red, cream, brown and brass colour scheme.

I designed the company’s colour schemes, logo and branding. We used the logo as a manifestation (health and safety frosting) to all the glass doors. 

I created framed sepia images of railway cafes, restaurants and dining carriages. Sourcing brass railway luggage racks – and luggage – adds a period feel. 

I designed and drew frostings for the glass doors and windows. They reflect the transient yet romantic nature of travel. 

Arab Horse Society, Hungerford and Newmarket 2019

The AHS, whose collections are based in Hungerford, required a one-room exhibition at Palace House, Newmarket, to celebrate their centenary. It was sponsored by the AHS Patron HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Faith & Anne & Indian Gold's illuminated pedigree; Copyright and courtesy of Anne Brown

Working with Anne Brown, of the AHS, I chose, researched and wrote a three-part exhibition – the history of Arab horses, their breeding and the modern day ridden performance of the breed. 

I wanted to bring racing excitement to the exhibition, and worked with Racetech and Shadwell Stud designing and installing the technology and its bespoke housing. 

AHS members loaned over 100 items, each of which was carefully packed  for travel and had its own insurance and individual condition reports. 

Faringdon Museum, Faringdon 2019

I discussed the need for a museum with the Town Council and we agreed that I could set up up both temporary and permanent exhibitions. The difficult space has doors, radiators, low sash windows, wall light fittings and lifts.

Hospital: Faringdon's Pump House in WW1; panels; copyright Faith Carpenter

 I worked with Oxfordshire Museums Service to choose and display objects on loan for an exhibition about the building’s use as a WW1 Red Cross Hospital . 

Mannequins and and a vintage bed created a nursing tableau. We borrowed items from OMS and built a text panel barrier to place them behind. 

I cleaned up old cases and removed the lighting as it didn’t current heat/lux standards and there wasn’t the budget for replacements.

Timeline for exhibition with cut out top

I chose six themes for the permanent exhibition ‘Faringdon’, and added a timeline and interactives such as a fossil handling tray and dressing up. 

Businesses and Faringdon at War exhibition cases

Corinium Museum donated four Click Netherfield cases. We borrowed from private lenders and Faringdon Historical Society; I wrote new forms and policies.

Faringdon Sponge Gravel Fossils

I hand drew some of the labels – old school, but the budget was tight. It was a very basic exhibition yet an attractive addition to the town’s offering. 

Greenham Common, Greenham 2018

Having restored the Tower, the Friends of Greenham Common Control Tower needed to create a visitor attraction within it. I created three distinct work areas - #1 was general style, branding and signage, #2 was a standalone exhibition about the Cold War and #3 explained the history of the base via the views from the Tower.

The first part of the work involved designing branding and signage. I chose to mimic the simple, familiar RAF style in brown and cream with Arial font. 

I worked with volunteers to choose phrases for cut vinyl letter decoration throughout the cafe. The flags were out for opening celebrations. 

We chose not to renovate some internal elements. I interpreted these with very concise signage to explain their distressed look.

In the Cold War exhibition I wanted to tell the stories of those working there. These hanging panels bring their memoreis vividly to life.  

Working with designer Tanya Betts we chose a dark, industrial look for the panels describing the Cold War. Use of flaps limits visible text and engages visitors.

Working with volunteers, I created  interactives. I designed ‘Plane Trumps’ cards, for which we found hundreds of statistics about the planes at the base during the 1960s-1980s, 

Interpreting the Control Tower, I was expected to use black outlines on metal to show current landmarks, but I felt that historical photos worked better. 

I’m told that visitors love the simple interpretation. I used UV proof inks (it’s a glass room) and tough panels as I knew visitors would sit on them. 

I added photo albums and fact books  and advised bench seating around the whole space. 

At the Nelson Museum

'The Nelson Touch': Inspirational Leadership 2009

This exhibition was concept-based rather than object based. It focused on Nelson's novel 'lead-by-example' style, his 'new, singular and simple' strategies, his achievements and his characteristics for success. At the time of opening I was a) leaving the museum b) moving house c) expecting a baby in two weeks' time, and so failed to take a single photo of it.

Nelson isn’t usually held up as an icon of disability, but the way he lost both an arm and an eye while at work, made no fuss and carried on regardless proved his inspirational leadership to his men, who copied his style.  

A text panel showing my favoured text style – short, concise and plenty of individual sentences. I do not do books on a wall.

Man the Guns: Life on Board Ship 2007

This was such a fun exhibition to do. I examined all areas - food and drink, sleeping, living, working and of course, battle. After the serious or sad exhibitions for the bicentenary I put a lot of colour and life into this one.

We borrowed some wonderful objects representing surgeons and surgery on board ship from the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds. and from private lenders.

I used cartoon characters – Captain, Able Seaman, Cook and Ship’s Boy – to lead visitors around and explain their roles. This was very successful with vistors of all ages and added a fun element. 

Interactives included dress the sailor, a ‘hideous deaths’ booklet, an officers’ duties game, a sailors’ diary, a ship’s food table, a lift-the-flap quiz and a new feely box – with a ship’s rat inside. 

From Cask to Coffin 2006

A dark and mysterious exhibition following on from 2005's cententary displays, this documented Nelson's journey home in late 1805 after his death and his subsequent state funeral in 1806. I put on events, wrote an education pack and delivered education sessions.

With black drapes to the windows and displays, this had a very different feel from other exhibitions. I used shaped text panels  to demarcate sections. 

We borrowed beautiful glass images to display within newly created ‘walls’ with display windows within. 

The Times loaned their original broadsheet of Nelson’s death, which required matt ultraviolet non-reflective bulletproof glass. 

I created a lift the flap coffins interactive, which a volunteer technician fabricated beautifully. 

Norfolk Museums Service loaned their Trafalgar commemorative plate, displayed for the first time in a century. 

I worked with Norfolk Museums Service to display the Trafalgar Drape, which covered Nelson’s coffin, for the first time. 

Face Value: Portraits of a Hero 2005

With many themes to choose from in the Trafalgar bicentenary year, I selected portraits, to show various aspects of Nelson's character and subsequent glorification in the press.

Working to a minuscule budget, the exhibition examined the way Nelson had been depicted in mixed media. 

Visitors were invited to choose words to describe the portraits; the velcro had to be reset several times a day.

Volunteer technicians created simple jigsaw puzzles using portraits  and a child-sized table and stools for them. 

Obsession: Collecting Nelson 2004

I collaborated with the Nelson Society and their keen collectors. Lenders were allocated a case and/or wall space and we chose objects to fill it. The exhibition promoted the work of the Nelson Society.

Collections loaned included medals, ceramics, works on paper, paintings, weapons, postcards, miniatures, snuff boxes and Georgian life. 

I opted for a label style of panel. I examined why we collect, how the great collections began and the differences between collecting, accumulating and hoarding. 

A simple interactive area with three games to engage visitors. It was very successful. 

Permanent Galleries: Naval Room 2001

The permanent Galleries were carried out in collaboration with John Hart Design, who fabricated the exhibition.

The ‘flagship’ of the museum, the Naval Room featured a ship-styled display, floor to ceiling graphics and bespoke cases. 

Latterly I found that the ‘ship’ element provided a great place to put relevant  low tech interactives.

In hindsight the design of the acrylic boxes/display spaces proved rather  cumbersome and restricting. 

Permanent Galleries: Merton Room 2001

The Merton Room examined Nelson’s personal life. The main feature was a Gems wax model with a handmade outfit by Locke.

After receiving donations of the Nile Tables and Georgian bedhangings, we created a four-poster room setting.

After receiving donations of the Nile Tables and Georgian bedhangings, we created a four-poster room setting.

Permanent Galleries: Below Decks 2001

A hugely successful display complete with small replica cannon (and noise), hammock, mess table, and audio visual and scent effects.

Floor to ceiling characters illustrated roles on board ship, with flaps for visitors to explore further.

Replica food, ‘tableware’, posters, cat and rat completed the effect. 

Other areas 2002

The Maritime Courtyard, an outdoor naval-themed space, was achieved with external funding and included cannon from HMS Victory. 

The Georgian Room was a later addition explaining life and times, with a dressing up interactive.

Great Yarmouth Racecourse approached me to research and write panels for their themed hospitality rooms; this was an unusual external project. They named one of the races after the museum….!

At the Lynn Museum

Social History, Agriculture, Geology, Natural History and Anthropology galleries 1999-2000

There was no budget for anything other than new Creation Baumann fabrics. 

I themed a case with nautical navigational aids as part of the exploration section. 

After finding stored collections, a local hospital x-rayed the mummified kitten. 

I redisplayed the fossils and designed a UV light box for fluorescent minerals. 

A local painter helped to create a seaside diorama of the natural history collections. 

A new painting and drawers spiced up the ichthyosaur fossil display. 

I displayed the town’s industries, from glass making to Campbell’s soup. 

I looked at the town’s rich trading history based on its status as a port.  

The choice of agricultural items was somewhat limited by the size of the case. 

'Light' at the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich 1998

As part of my MA Museology course, we put on an exhibition ‘Light’, looking at its physical properties and historical and cultural meanings, uses and influences. We borrowed items from the Fitzwilliam and British museums under Government Indemnity.