The Commandery - Worcester's Civil War Story

Completed in July 2017, GuM were responsible for the interpretive planning and content development, working with Studio Eger. The visitor offer was developed around the concept the Commandery being the Headquarters of the Civil War, and the exhibition tracks a number of personal themes based around Worcester and a soldier’s life, while developing an interaction between the grounds and landscape outside, and the building within.

The Commandery had a very small collection of objects, so GuM needed to tell the story using graphic images, replicas, handling objects and interactive exhibits. The use of digital media was extremely important and was used to tell the story of the Commandery, a Grade I listed Tudor building in central Worcester, which had been through
many different functions in its lifespan: Hospital, Monastery, School for the blind and Printing Works. Soundscapes were also used for atmospheric displays, and for introducing the visitor to the concept of parliamentary debate.

The project was especially challenging regarding the installation of the displays due to the Listed Status of the building. The graphic design was a very integral part of the overall design and was very highly integrated with the exhibition design. In some instances the graphic design was the driving force of the display due to the lack of objects.

GuM devised a unique concept for one of the rooms, with a Royalist theme. Using their extensive knowledge of conservation specialists, GuM approached scenic designer and artist Jemima Taylor who created a “Royalist Room” which explored Charles II fleeing from Worcester after the Battle of Worcester. The story was told in beautiful sepia frescoes, working with the historic room panelling, and asks the public to read the drawings as a story. Carried out rather in the manner of a tapestry, the artistic treatment is both atmospheric and yet contemporary, with the crisp white walls providing a clean backdrop for the graphic story.