Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
With over 3 million documents, PRONI is the only archive in the British Isles to hold such a diverse collection of official and private documents. In 2011, PRONI moved into a new purpose-built home in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast. A Century of Change, Conflict and Transformation was launched to mark this event. As well as telling the story of Northern Ireland through the archive's documents, the exhibition aimed to encourage people to think about both the purpose and future of archives.
Presented with limited room, no existing exhibition infrastructure and a modest budget, the Mila wall system was chosen as the best possible solution for the space: it allowed the exhibition to be divided in a way that facilitated an optimal and logical visitor flow and maximised the available surface area for reproducing documents and images from the archive.
As the opening of the exhibition also coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Belfast Blitz, we produced an 'Anderson' air-raid shelter from original plans held by PRONI. Located in the centre of the exhibition space, the shelter provided both a focal point and a resting point for visitors. Images of the Blitz were projected onto the floor while audio reminiscence played within the space. The shelter also made tangible for visitors the connection between the documents in PRONI and the lives of people in the past.