Royal Navy museum searching for designer for new exhibition

The National Museum of the Royal Navy is searching for a contractor to design and project-manage the creation of a new permanent gallery at the former Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Priddy’s Hard in Gosport.

The new exhibition will be called Coastal Forces: Spitfires of the Seas and will feature two historic craft, Coastal Motor Boat CMB331 and Motor Torpedo Boat MTB71. It will tell the story of the Royal Navy’s Coastal Forces from inception in August 1916 to its demise in the late 1950s.

“The emphasis should be on excitement and entertainment, firmly rooted in historical authenticity,” the project overview states.

The aims of the exhibition include:

  • Delight and enthral visitors by revealing the danger and risk, but also the exhilaration and drama, which characterised service in small, fast warships.
  • Highlight the very varied and different experiences of those who served in Coastal Forces.
  • Raise awareness about the history of Coastal Forces and the contribution made by those who served in it to victory in the First World War, Second World War and Cold War.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) is offering a £450,000 ($643,000) contract, which is open to bidders with a closing date of 5 February 2018. The contract description states:

“NMRN seeks an experienced and imaginative exhibition design team to:

  1. Conceive an initial concept design for approval by the Coastal Forces Exhibition Project Board
  2. Incorporating any amendments specified, work up a fully detailed exhibition design brief.
  3. Identify and procure any required subcontractors.
  4. Project manage exhibition fit-out.”

While the precise package of work will depend on the final approved design, it is anticipated that it will consist of the development of initial concept designs; the design, development and installation of exhibits; supply and fit of gallery lighting and exhibition showcases and exhibition fit-out.

The Mine Store building where the exhibition will be housed will be fully refurbished as part of the project, offering a blank canvas. The contract start date is 26 February 2018 with work completed in time for an expected summer 2019 opening.

The NMRN is celebrating its best-ever performance across the country, recording more than 1.2 million visitors in 2017, up 20% on the previous year.