If walls could talk....Stowe House comes to life

If walls could talk....Stowe House comes to life
Country: United Kingdom
City: Buckingham
Institution Type: Global icons, Art, General, Schools, Historic/Heritage
Exhibition Type: Permanent
Content Type: Audio, Multimedia, Video
Players: iPod
Deal Type: Optional
Functionalities: Animations, Timelines, Games
Language: English

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If walls could talk....Stowe House comes to life
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Client profile
Stowe House is a Grade I listed house with extensive gardens open to members of the public during certain times of the year. Located in Buckinghamshire, this magnificent neo-Classical house is also the location of Stowe School. The house was popular with aristocrats and royalty who frequently stayed at the house during the 18th and 19th centuries. The main House is available to visit throughout the year.  
Challenge
Thanks to Heritage Lottery funding, Stowe House was able to carry out vital restoration works, and, in doing so, open a part of the building to the public. The building now houses a school, and none of the original furniture or artwork remains, so Stowe House required a partner to bring the history of the house to life through creative story-telling. 
The challenge was to create an immersive, inspiring and inclusive tour for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.
Solution
Stowe House wanted to tell an intriguing and revealing 'Three Act' story charting the rapid rise and spectacular fall of the Temple Grenville family, who owned the house for 150 years. The final act in this story is the founding of Stowe School in 1929, which saved the building from probable demolition.
Antenna International told the story of the house and its protagonists across three tours, the main tour, a family tour and a tour for visually impaired people. The tours provide social, historical and political background to explain how a 'grand family' built Stowe on Enlightenment-era philosophy, and encourages visitors to admire and connect with the architecture.

The tours feature videos with an 18th-century specialist, Dr Oliver Cox, along with interviews with conservators who explain the details of the extensive restoration. The family tour offers delightful hand-made 2D animations to tell the Stowe story, featuring conversations between a writer and an artist to engage young people and encourage their own responses to the architecture.

For the visually impaired tour, Antenna listened to feedback from the local visually impaired community about the best way to present the content and describe the history, architecture and objects in the House. 

Antenna carried out all creative production and even provided the tour devices, a multimedia guide preloaded on a touch-screen iPod. The multimedia guide is included in the Stowe House ticket price. 

Outcome
The tours were well received by the Stowe House, but more importantly, have been praised by an increasing number of visitors:
  • "We did the tour of the house which was really informative and the guide was fantastic - great to hear the history of the building and the family that started it all. " Visitor, United Kingdom
  • "There is an audio tour for those with sight impairments which is very detailed and thorough" Visitor

About Us

We are innovative storymakers and creative technologists devoted to visitor-first experiences.

We make audio tours, mobile apps, multimedia guides, podcasts, interactives, and superior story-driven content for the museum and cultural sector.

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