Bucks County Museum

The County Museum was founded by the Bucks Archaeological Society in the mid 19th century and was operated by the County Council from 1957. 

Challenge: The county museum in Aylesbury does a wonderful job of interpreting this complexity; but the museum buildings themselves, a Frankensteinian mix of different architectural styles dating to the 14th century, have never had the same treatment.  

Solution: As part of a pilot project, ATS worked with the museum to experiment with ways of revealing the buildings’ secrets for the first time.  

Through a series of workshops, we helped staff identify an ideal starting point; a woman named Cicely Baker, whose family had lived in the townhouse which forms the heart of the museum for the first half of the twentieth century. A large, empty room that had once served as the Bakers’ drawing room was chosen as the focus for the pilot interpretation, despite its unique creative constraints. As the room is used for weddings and conferences, no permanent physical changes could be made to the space whatsoever. 

Proceeding with consultation, archival and in-situ research, we began to piece together historical evidence and appropriate creative license into a coherent narrative that worked with the constraints of the space, using the room’s bareness to our advantage.  

Sarah Simmons, Workforce Development Officer said, Bucks County Museum had opportunity to trial a digital interpretation project focused on the Georgian Room. The aim was to bring the currently untold story of the history of the room and occupants to life for the visitors. We had a wide scope of what this may look like and selected ATS Heritage for their previous high quality work, in addition to offering a wide range of options to meet the brief. The workshop allowed the team to discuss ideas alongside expert guidance from ATS team with the outcome of the workshop a very clear direction using multimedia guides for family and adult audience”!

Building on ATS’s multimedia technology, we created an Audio set in the drawing room across five time periods in its history, from 1906 to 1950. Shot through with humour and sadness, drama and everyday intimacy, in each scene, the visitor meets Cicely as she grows and ages. A combination of immersive audio, onscreen archival photos, carefully-designed interaction and their own imaginations transforming this slightly anonymous space back to its former richness.