The National Trust’s Dunster Castle in Somerset is notorious for its ghostly goings-on which never fail to spook both visitors and staff. As part of a wider project to bring the Castle to life for new and existing audiences, 20/20 has created an exhibition in the Castle’s Crypt that showcases the ghosts as well as the castle’s history and resident bats.
For this project 20/20 co-ordinated all the interpretation elements including design, artwork, copy, illustrations, additional photographic images and audio visual, as well as all carpentry, manufacturing and installation.
Step inside the Crypt and it appears as any other store room would; full of crates and barrels. But take a closer look and the castle’s hidden history, myths and unusual inhabitants start to come alive.
A spooky atmosphere is created through an audio exhibit documenting real life ghost stories told by the castle’s staff and residents, whilst other ghost tales are brought to life by the voice of actor Clive Swift – famous for his role as Richard Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances. Using a black light torch, visitors can also find hidden messages written in UV ink on a collection of photos and sketches, and a shadow theatre enhanced by a selection of props is a fun interactive for children.
The immersery, audio-visual experience is continued into the bat room. A batcam monitor shows live footage of the bat roosts in the chapel and a virtual bat roost has been created by projecting archive footage from the batcam into an alcove. Bat sounds can be heard via a wind-up audio device, whilst a calendar documents the fascinating year in the life of a bat.
The kitchen rooms tend to be the most popular at National Trust properties, however visitors are unable to access such rooms at Dunster Castle. To provide a sense of what the kitchen was once like, we created an audio exhibit telling real stories from kitchen staff records down a ‘waste pipe’ from the kitchen located above the Crypt.
Despite budget and listed building constraints, the Crypt – an empty, dark room that once confused and disappointed visitors, has been transformed into an truly sensory visitor experience.