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Canadian War Museum

Revitalizing the past to captivate a contemporary audience

An updated exhibition gallery design focused on accessibility and visitor experience

An exhibit gallery with several large panels in the background showing text, large images and a painting of First World War soldiers, with a display case containing a diorama and red text panels.
Canadian War Museum
Project type
Permanent exhibition
Oulton + Devine

The Canadian War Museum offered us the unique challenge to reimagine a section of their permanent gallery to be more vibrant, readable, and accessible, while also seamlessly blending into the surrounding galleries. Teaming up with our frequent collaborator, Peter Oulton, as the project’s 3D designer and scenographer, we set out to breathe new life into this space.

We first analyzed the existing gallery and identified what elements could be reintegrated for continuity. Many of the graphics within the space are dark, lower contrast, and are not up to current universal accessibility (UA) standards; the revamped exhibition needed to be brighter, easier to access, and more inclusive. Together with the Museum’s project manager, curator, and content specialist, we brainstormed ways to enhance contrast and clarity while also respecting the surrounding spaces and the solemnity of the subject matter: Canada’s role during the last 100 days of WWI.

Reintegrating the more prominent features of the existing galleries, such as large murals, angled walls, and key colours, pays homage to the history and design of the previous space, while also maintaining a sense of continuity and familiarity for visitors. The colour palette was updated to be more vibrant, dark panels were replaced with brighter ones, grainy images were enhanced with newer technology, and fonts were replaced with more readable typefaces.

This exhibition’s newfound vibrancy, readability, and accessibility have been praised by the Museum and its visitors. By viewing existing features through a fresh lens and enhancing them with more contrast and impact, the overall visual experience has been elevated, creating a new precedent for future updates to the Museum’s permanent galleries.

Be beautifully accessible.

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