“This imaginative project will help to continue Tim’s mission message about the importance of science and space, especially to young people” – Nigel Peake, December 2016.

On 15th December 2016, exactly one year to the day since Tim Peake blasted into space to join the International Space Station, the first official Tim Peake exhibition opened at The Novium Museum in his home city of Chichester.

We were delighted when, back in September 2016, Novium manager Cathy Hakes approached us to develop an interactive, informative and impactful exhibition, which would allow visitors of all ages to embark on a space journey following Tim’s astronomical adventure – from his birth in Chichester in 1972, through his career so far, culminating in his extraordinary journey into outer space.

The project kicked off with a meeting between Cathy and our Creative Director Janice, where they took an initial walk through of the museum’s entire top floor gallery, and discussed suggestions and ideas on how the exhibition should ultimately look and feel.

Dimensions were taken and a plan was drawn up.

Back in the Buzzword studio, Janice and our team Paula, Tom and Siri set to work on planning the complete transformation of the existing gallery. The deadline was tight and there was lots to do, but with the help of some talented partner organisations and a diverse curatorial team, we started to design and develop the exhibition; this included the overall branding, large format entrance signage, a timeline of Tim’s life, graphic vinyls to cover all existing cabinets and a custom built central island, the fit-out of a ‘starry sky’ and custom built scaffold systems plus coloured lighting and neon floor lighting installations. There were also replica sleeping quarters and the lift was transformed into the interior of the Soyuz rocket.

With the kind assistance of Tim’s father (and exhibition co-curator) Nigel, we were able to gather memorabilia and personal items including photographs and clothing.

The Personal Items cabinet was a particular favourite of ours, and we felt extremely privileged to work closely with these personal artefacts of the future .. notably the actual flight suit which Tim arrived at the Space Station wearing. Lots of measuring-up and calculations were required to make sure all the graphics and exhibits fitted exactly in the spaces provided. In the centre of the gallery an impressive custom built island was placed; this not only housed the several hundred year-old artefacts that couldn’t be moved but also provided us with the opportunity to house screens and interactive areas where visitors can experience what it’s like to carry out an experiment in space!

Janice came up with the idea of a ‘rocket lift’ to transport visitors on arrival from the museum’s ground floor up into their ‘outer space’ level! Every inch of the lift’s interior walls was covered in vinyl graphics designed to represent the interior of the Soyuz rocket, and for school visits authentic BBC audio from the actual Soyuz take-off is piped into the lift and astronaut overalls supplied, giving the children a unique ‘blast off’ experience!

All the work was completed in time for the media launch day, where local newspapers, TV reporters and photographers were invited along. Current pupils from Tim’s former schools Westbourne Primary School and Chichester High School were invited in to enjoy scientific experiments, interactive iPads, puzzles and dressing up in space clothing. They were delighted with the whole thing.

The Novium, the exhibition’s sponsors and ourselves are thrilled with the end result. Feedback from visitors has been extremely positive, and we feel honoured to have been involved in such a unique and fulfilling project.

‘Tim Peake – an Extraordinary Journey’ runs throughout 2017 at the Novium Museum, Tower Street, Chichester PO19 1QH.

Admission is free. Don’t miss it!

Images courtesy of Peter Langdown Photography.

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