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Museum of the Mind

Client: Bethlem Royal Hospital

Our goal was to bring clarity and depth to the complex but fascinating issues surrounding mental health, in this visually and emotionally rich exhibition for Bethlem Royal Hospital, the world-famous psychiatric hospital in South London, founded in 1247. 

Set within the refurbished listed Edwardian administration building, the new HLF-funded museum explores 750 years of mental health, while showcasing some of the artistic output of its past residents. Visitors follow a journey through a notional illness, from visiting through labelling and diagnosis to treatment and potential recovery. Each area explores attitudes through the ages from a multitude of perspectives, but with the patient voice to the fore. 

Architectural, open-frame walls delineate the flow through the exhibition space, and double up as display frames filled with artefacts and art works. We commissioned additional art works and installations, and made maximum use of Bethlem's own extensive archive of testimonials, paintings, sculptures, ceramics and objects.

Our creative use of the art collection was integral to the whole design concept, and consequently the experience, adding to the curatorial vision of multiple voices. 

Our role:

  • Interpretation masterplanning

  • Funding bid support – HLF 2

  • Exhibition design

  • Lighting design with DHA Designs

  • Graphic design with Surface 3

  • Software design concept & creative direction

  • Overseeing installation

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