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Real Rooms Project Designer

Invitation to Tender for Real Rooms project designer  


Museum of the Home are looking for a dynamic, socially engaged exhibition designer to produce an inspiring gallery design in response to the ideas of our visitors and community partners. The Real Rooms project will see the creation of four new period rooms and many smaller interactive exhibits, as well as a playful reimagining of the visitor route of the Branson Coates wing.   


About Real Rooms 

The Real Rooms Project will place communities and stories under represented across the heritage sector at the centre  of our renowned Rooms Through Time. It will bring greater diversity to the Museum’s current period room displays, making the rooms far more representative of London and the communities we serve. This object rich gallery will allow us to display a large amount of our newly acquired collections. We will expand the concept of what a period room can do, making the histories we tell more engaging and accessible to visitors. By representing diverse stories, visitors from many different backgrounds will see their history on display, perhaps for the first time. 

Local communities have been involved at every stage of the process, ensuring their stories are told in a way that is authentic and meaningful. At the start of the project, we recruited our ‘Community Authors’, a group of local people with diverse backgrounds and professions , who contributed advice, research, and developed content for Real Rooms. As a result of these sessions, along with visitor feedback, we identified communities that lack adequate representation in our collections and displays, and we are now building lasting relationships with groups from these communities to lead the direction of the project. 

We also want to offer a far greater feeling of immersion; blurring the lines between display and visitor route, and incorporating setwork elements throughout the Museum space. We want to create a sense of play and exploration that will make the history on offer more accessible and fun for visitors of all ages.  

The sense of discovery will be crucial in these new spaces, with stories and objects to find everywhere. No two visitor’s journeys will be the same, encouraging repeat visits. 

Project Scope 

This redevelopment focuses on the Branson Coates wing of the building, a 1990s extension that currently houses five period rooms from 1870 to 1998, as well as a temporary exhibition space.  

  • Two of the five rooms will remain largely unchanged, with the other three being completely transformed.  
  • The temporary exhibition space will become the permanent site of a London Vietnamese period room in one corner, and a ‘room of the future’ in the other.  
  • It is important to note that the interiors of the period rooms will be designed by the Museum’s curators, and so are outside of the scope of this project.  
  • There will be an introductory display at the start of the period rooms, which will blend elements of all the time periods that follow, and will be heavily interactive.  
  • There will also be two ‘vignettes’ in the space between the rooms and the central staircase, which will explore different stories to those on display in the rooms.  
  • Connecting these all together will be a semi-abstract version of a street, running from the wing’s entrance and with elements appearing throughout the visitor journey. It will convey the idea that home isn’t necessary restricted to a building, but can be about your street, your community, or your city.  



We want to appoint a designer with a passion for working with communities. Translating the wants and needs of non-museum professionals into aesthetically striking displays while maintaining an authentic, original voice is vital to the success of the project. More than anything we want to promote a sense of belonging, and for every visitor to recognise something of their idea of home in the Museum. This is one of our core values, and we expect the designer to share our values and be able to implement them in innovative ways. 

The Museum’s unique period room displays are globally known, and themselves have a legacy that stretches back near a century. This is a fantastic opportunity to be able to redefine the format, presenting visitors with something they know and love, but in ways they have never experienced before. We want these rooms to have a long life, becoming flexible hubs for telling new stories rather than static museum exhibits. 

The main design challenges will be: 

  • Developing creative solutions to display barriers and gallery thresholds; allowing visitors to access some areas while ensuring vulnerable objects on open display are protected 
  • Creating flexible and changeable displays which encourage visitor responses  
  • Ensuring the gallery can accommodate a wide range of programming, such as school visits, talks, events, and storytelling  
  • Creating a coherent display which ties together the multitude of stories represented and  conveys the community led nature of the project  
  • Producing a dynamic gallery, with sensory and immersive elements, to delight and surprise visitors  



The Museum of the Home is committed to talking about, and thinking of ways to tackle the climate crisis, and we expect all of our partners to share this passion for sustainable practice. We want this project to have a very long shelf life to minimise the impact of its build, and we aim to do this by creating flexible spaces that can be re-used and re-purposed as the demands of the Museum and its audiences change. We want to work with a designer with a track record of innovative, low-waste exhibition builds, who is as passionate as we are about using this unique platform to encourage positive change on a local and global scale. 


Dates 2023 


6th March 2023  

Tender submission deadline 

13th March 2023 

Shortlisted designers invited for tour of galleries 

w/c 20th March 2023 

Interview with a panel from Museum of the Home and community partners  

27th March 2023  


w/c 3rd April 2023  

First session with the project team  

April to October 2023 

Fortnightly meetings with the core project team  

April to August 2023 

Monthly meetings with wider community partners and Museum team  

October 2023 

Final designs  

April 2024 

Gallery opens to public  



Estimated value of Tender: £55,000  


How to apply  

  • A 400 word expression of interest as to why you would like to work with us on this project 
  • If you are applying as part of an organisation, please provide an introduction to the organisation and its credentials 
  • Names and CV’s of the proposed Project Partner/Director and key support team members including qualifications and experience 
  • Three examples of relevant projects you and/or your organisation have previously undertaken 
  • Your contract price estimate. 

Please email these to  

For a further details on the project please email Danielle Patten 


We will assess applicants on the contract price estimate (35%), quality of pervious work (35%), and approach to collaborative working (30%).  


We encourage applications from artists from under-represented groups in the arts, including on the basis of gender, sexuality, disability, ethnic origin, experience of migration, socio-economic background, and maternity / paternity.