The Museum Corner – Reinventing the Heritage Video

We’ve all seen them.

The ‘museum video’. The one that plays on a loop in the corner on a rapidly fading screen. A curiosity from the depths of the 90s – a wobbly video of an actor in vaguely period costume playing Basil Exposition with a stream with nothing but inky studio blackness for company on a cold, dark night.

Luckily, the museum and heritage industry seems to be moving forward.

The rise of video consumption on demand is changing everything. Visitors are interacting with video on a regular basis. Add to this the fact that the cost of tools to produce film quality video is dropping, and you have a target market who are used to consuming high-quality video products daily – from YouTube HD to Vimeo and BBC iPlayer.

We have to think seriously about how best to interpret the information we’re providing. We need to find new ways to tell our stories. We must engage and entertain as well as inform. Straight delivery of the facts won’t work any more – we’ve got to sing and dance as well.

Over the past few years, Engine Creative has worked with our heritage industry clients to produce some pretty innovative and engaging films. We’ve recreated the Battle of the Somme, brought a disused brass foundry to life, trekked across the most remote walking trail in Ireland and sentenced a man to death.

Every project is approached from a fresh perspective, creating stories individual to each interpretive situation. Most recently at Shire Hall, we created an interactive tablet based video tour that immerses visitors in the story of John Frost – a man on trial for High Treason. It recreates his trial in the very courtroom where it took place in 1840 and examines the evidence and differing perspectives through ‘interviews’ with actors playing the people involved.

It is this kind of innovative video interpretation that can open our history for exploration. Striking images give a window into yesterday for people of today. It’s this type of engagement that will help our generation learn and remember.

You can see some samples of our broad work in museums and heritage in the showreel above. If you’d like to talk about any projects you might have, feel free to get in touch any time by e-mailing me at

Let’s bring video out of the corner.

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