Electrosonic has installed the audiovisual and interactive systems supporting the exhibits at Fort Nelson, home to the Royal Armouries’ national collection of artillery and historic cannon.
Built in the second-half of the 19th century as a response to a perceived threat from the French, Fort Nelson is situated on Portsdown Hill overlooking England’s Portsmouth Harbour. In 1995, it became a Royal Armouries museum and, over the past two years, experienced major redevelopment supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Now, a new gallery showcases 14 of its most famous exhibits with AV support from Electrosonic.
“The new-look museum is proving a major hit with the public,” said museum director Peter Armstrong, “and we’ve experienced a major boost to visitor figures since the launch last August, thanks to the new galleries, visitor facilities, education centre, and displays.”
The new “Voice of the Guns” gallery houses the Great Turkish Bombard, a medieval wall smasher from 1464, whose display includes a short video sequence on an LCD monitor built into the caption panel. The same AV treatment is used to describe a German 10.5 cm light field howitzer from 1918 and two anti-aircraft guns used to defend Britain’s south coast during World War II.
The most infamous contemporary armament exhibit is devoted to the Iraqi Supergun. Two sections of the barrel are on display, supported by a big panel sporting a 46-inch LCD monitor, describing how the gun was supposed to work and the role of its designer, Gerald Bull.
A pair of interactive exhibits takes the form of clean-lined, wood-framed map tables. Featuring overhead projectors from Electrosonic, the tables play sequences triggered by visitors who push buttons on a panel in front of them to discover how and why Fort Nelson was built.
Another display (pictured) appears to show a black-and-white photograph of a Victorian-era recruiting sergeant in a gilt frame. At intervals he comes to life in full colour and delivers a dynamic pep talk about joining the Queen’s Army.