Changing Faces marks the final stage of museum's redevelopment.

South Shields Museum & Art Gallery, South Shields

Completed: 2008    Budget: 262K    Size: 220 m


South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, centrally located in South Shields in a Grade II-listed building, presents the history and artistic heritage of the borough through a combination of permanent and changing displays. Over recent years the museum has undergone a series of refurbishments. These include the Art Adventure Centre, designed by Redman Design. Changing Faces, which incorporates Creature Corner and a cafe, is the last part of the redevelopment programme.

The project's objective was to create a new, lively and engaging space promoting exploration and discovery in a welcoming and open environment. It looks at the overarching history of South Tyneside from earliest times to the beginning of the twentieth century.

Exhibition Design

Working closely with the client team, Redman Design helped develop the story narrative for the gallery, highlighting particular stories which could be used to add drama and create interesting displays. Learning objectives and target audiences were agreed and referred to throughout the design process. From this, audio-visual and interactive briefs were developed which reflected the stories selected.

We improved the existing Creature Corner space by adding bold, scenically painted environments with prominent graphics. Our approach to the cafe was to create an accessible and attractive space whilst ensuring that it didn't dominate the gallery experience or adversely affect sensitive museum objects. Colours, finishes and selected objects were included within the cafe space to blur boundaries between the two areas.


The Changing Faces gallery employs a simple graphic system. Twenty story panels reflect the structural angles in the gallery, with a high-contrast text section set off a single, bold story image. Images of the objects are included on the case labels to ease identification. Historical photographs, taken from the collections, are enlarged as backdrops to the museum's key object displays and are also presented as image grids with integrated interactive units.

The People Trail is a series of graphics which highlight the historically significant men and women of South Shields. These are dotted throughout the gallery. Similarly, a Children's Trail is designed to appeal to younger audiences and features illustrated characters Nicholas and Dolly. These graphics are positioned at a consistent low-level for children to follow.