UCL News


'Say it Again, Say it Differently' - the re-interpretation of the Grant Museum

17 January 2006

UCL's Grant Museum of Zoology has been used as an essential teaching and research resource for UCL staff and students since 1827.

The museum is also open to the public and regularly welcomes school groups and hosts activities for both children and adults.

The museum retains the air of a Victorian collection of curiosities, and although it still feels like a treasure trove crammed full of fascinating specimens, the museum has now been made more accessible to non-specialists through the 'Say it Again, Say it Differently' project.

Grant Museum Curator, Dr Helen Chatterjee, said: "As a small, university-based museum, the Grant Museum of Zoology faces challenges in communicating specialist information to both a narrow interest group and a wider public audience. The museum contains mainly skeletons and wet-preserved animal dissections, and so the objects themselves are difficult to interpret on their own."

The 'Say it Again, Say it Differently' project was funded by the London Museums Hub and aimed to address these issues of communication and interpretation within the museum. By creating completely new ways of displaying and communicating information about the museum's collections, the project has helped to broaden the museum's appeal to a non-specialist audience.

The result is a completely new look and feel for the museum, including new graphics, labels, floor plan, audio guide and information guide, known as the 'Factfiles'. The museum developed all new content with help from the design skills of ACME Studios, which developed into the entire re-interpretation of the museum.

The success of the project has been overwhelming, with one visitor commenting: "It's retained its academic feel which is quite nice, but you can still learn and now you don't feel stupid."

A series of external and internal evaluations were conducted to discover how visitors perceive the museum's re-interpretation, and the feedback has been extremely positive.

Image: Dr Chatterjee