PPS Limited, the Preston-based large format graphics specialist, has been instrumental in the production and installation of a wide range of new graphics at the recent £1.7million refurbishment at The Museum of Lancashire.
Based at Preston’s Quarter Sessions House, The Museum of Lancashire was closed to the public for 18 months whilst it underwent the major refurbishment. Since its reopening late last month (26th November 2011), a number of new interactive galleries including ‘Lancashire Goes to War’, ‘Lancashire at Play’, ‘Time Line’ and Archaeological displays have been created.
Working through Conlon Construction, the main contractor, and liaising directly with Lancashire County Museum Services, PPS proposed new materials and processes for several of the exhibits and displays. These included digital textured wallpapers, 15 mm thick Multiply printable birch wood, and output created on canvas, acrylics and Foamex.
All output generated was created on PPS’s Agfa Anapurna flatbed which provided the photographic quality required on the wide range of materials to be printed. While having a mixture of solvent print, solvent print and cut, HP5500 dye ink, HP Z6100 Vivera ink and the latest HP Z6200 8 colour pigment ink printers in house for other types of work, it was the Agfa flatbed with its ability to print onto just about every roll and rigid material that was the deciding factor in utilising that for the Museum job.
According to Noel Palmer, managing director of PPS, “We had previously worked very successfully with Lancashire Museum Services on other projects and they advised us in advance about the refurbishment project at The Museum of Lancashire. They wanted to use new materials for the display - rather than the usual run of the mill – and during meetings, we discussed creating output on a number of different types of media.”
Gary Smith and Ivan Frontani were amongst the Exhibition Officers at Lancashire Museum Services who created all the original artwork and PPS worked alongside the local government team to suggest the choice of media for the numerous display pieces.
The scale of the project was impressive. PPS printed and installed over 100sqm of wallpaper for the curved ‘Lancashire Time Line’ wall, the Archaeological dig area and the alcoves in the ‘Play, People and Work’ galleries. This wallpapering was applied across flat walls and also in a number of alcoves which meant PPS worked with both textured and smooth media to best fit the various applications.
Over 75sqm of 15mm Multiply was printed on directly to serve as panels in the ‘War’, ‘Work’ and ‘Law and Order’ galleries. Noel says, “The rep from Amari – Multiply’s distributor – had come into our offices with an A5 sample immediately after a meeting we’d had with the graphics designers where the use of wood had been discussed. Approximately 10 minutes after Amari’s visit, we found ourselves printing onto the sample provided. Lancashire Museum Services thought the quality and durability of output was great and we ended up printing over 25 sheets of 8’x4’ in a mixture of different panel sizes.”
PPS printed over 60m of Foamex which was installed around the top of the WW1 trench to form a panoramic war scene which aimed at conveying the horrors of that period. Noel explains, “In the WW1 room, a fantastic life-size trench had been reproduced and fitted with guns, dug outs and full size replica soldiers. Lancashire Museum Services wanted a totally panoramic view of the war landscape replicating the type of view the soldiers would have been confronted with when going over the top and we were able to help them achieve this.”
Other sections at the Museum were also furnished with output created by PPS which included printed acrylics, canvas maps and an interactive magnetic display.
Production and installation took place last month, nearing the completion of the building work at the Museum. “Finalised panels were fed into the Museum pretty much on a daily basis as and when the various artworks were approved. Installation of the wallpapers had to revolve around cabinet building, display arrangements and the final last minute rushes associated with these types of refurbishment projects,” says Noel.
The Museum used its own technical staff for installation of the most of the displays. However PPS was called in to install the wallpapers and Foamex boards around the WW1 trench display. “When we initially viewed this area, it was just blank walls. However, by the time it came to installation, all the areas we were to work in had been fitted out with cabinets and other equipment, thereby making the job of installation rather more tricky,” comments Noel.
He concludes, “Being located close to the Museum was a huge advantage for PPS as it enabled us to react quickly to ever-changing situations. All members of the PPS production team, led by manager Bill Painter, took great pride in the project and we were boosted by the knowledge that all our hard work would be on view to the public for many years to come. In a sense, as well as being the Museum of Lancashire, the project almost stands as a showroom for PPS as it has so many of our different creations on show!”
Following its refurbishment, The Museum of Lancashire is offering free entry up until the end of November 2012 and is open every day except Mondays. For more information on the Museum, please visit http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/acs/sites/museums/
For more information on PPS Limited, please visit http://www.palmerpublicity.co.uk/
[photos show selection of PPS' work at The Museum of Lancashire]