After working for the Museum on contract for a number of years, Joel Taylor was offered fulltime employment in the role of Exhibitions Coordinator.
Along with the many tasks that fall within this role in a large National Museum, Jay was asked to design an Exhibition that would support the Museum’s amazing collection of artefacts from the battle for the medieval town in Northern France of Le Quesnoy.
On 4 November 1918 part of the Battle of the Sambre, soldiers of the New Zealand Division, the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, scaled the fortified walls of the French town of Le Quesnoy, with a ladder and captured it from the defending German garrison made up from the 22nd Division.
Making this project more interesting was the requirement to align the display with the children’s book Le Quesnoy: The story of the town New Zealand saved written by Glyn Harper and illustrated by Jenny Cooper. One of the requirements of the exhibition was to bring Harper’s story to life in a 3D version of the town. Joel’s research was carried out from real life photographs, as well as illustrations from the children’s book, and the exhibition is a blend of these.
The exhibition is almost entirely made from MDF sheet material. Texture was carved into its surface in various ways to give a more 3D feeling. The display was constructed and painted completely off site, then disassembled, transported to the museum and installed in the gallery. The artefacts were then introduced to the village themed display cabinets, along with the curated information to tell the story.
Included in the display are pictures reproduced from Harper’s children’s book to further link the display and the book for the public. The display is cheerful and welcoming due to the attractive colour scheme and has been well received by the public visiting the museum - both children and adults equally, 100 years after this amazing event during WWI.
The colour scheme needed to be bright, cheerful and similar to the children’s book without overpowering or distracting from the artefacts being displayed. The large colour range available through Resene made this possible using standard colours in the range.
Colours were chosen to best represent the colours used by Cooper the artist. Then they were sequenced to determine which colours went in relation to each other in the streetscape and which colours to use to represent certain textures i.e. bricks stone etc. Resene paint was also used to colour the canopies on two shops that were made from white canvas material.
The buildings were painted in Resene Dawn Chorus and Resene Half Escape, Resene Sidecar, Resene Putty and Resene Travis, with brickwork in Resene Tuscany, doors in Resene Alamo and details in Resene Ciderhouse. Resene Escape adds a touch of colour to the shutters and shopfront, with Resene Spice used to complement the other colours.
Resene SpaceCote was used throughout, so that colours could be intermixed if required and for its flatter finish and durability, important to cope with the high traffic flow through exhibitions like this. It was also used it to apply a grouting look around the brickwork with an airbrush; suitably thinned it worked very well for this fine detail work.
The village facade had to be built in layers to provide the necessary texture required for visual interest and access to the cabinets to install artefacts. Once it was painted it had to be completely dismantled for transport and the install. There was very little touching up required on site after installation was complete, which is a testament to the paint’s toughness.
Architectural specifier: Joel Taylor, Exhibitions Coordinator
Client: National Army Museum
Colour selection: Joel Taylor and Windsor Jones
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