18th to the 21st Century: Inveraray Jail Come to Life

18th to the 21st Century: Inveraray Jail Come to Life
Country: United Kingdom
City: Inverary
Institution Type: Historic/Heritage
Exhibition Type: Permanent
Content Type: Multimedia
Language: Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch, English

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Client profile
The courthouse and prison of Inveraray Jail opened in 1820. The building was fully restored in the 1980’s and is now a tourist attraction. Visitors are given the opportunity to see re-enactments of trials and to experience what life was like for the past inmates. 
Challenge
Inveraray Jail, a much-loved piece of history in its local community, wanted to bring their jail-site tour experience into the 21st century.
Inside the walls of the jail, throughout the courtroom and jail cells are mannequins, text information on signage on walls, and soundscapes. Throughout the facility, staff members dress up in costume and character to enhance the visitor experience. Overall, visitors to the tour can expect a very fun, immersive and theatrical experience. This experience, however, was quickly becoming more and more dated. 
The signage on the walls included lots of great information but did not bring the jail experience to life. The jail wanted to create an audio experience for its visitors that would enhance the theatrical experience for guests. The site, however, had an existing and dated soundscape. This soundscape included prisoners talking and sometimes screaming, courtroom scenes played on loudspeaker in English, and much more. These soundscape noises would compete with a guest listening to an audio guide via headphones. The jail needed help to compete transform their guest experience, whilst adhering to the theatrical, entertaining and immersive experience the jail is known for.
Solution
Partnering with Antenna International in 2015, Inveraray Jail began to work on their goal towards a new and exciting audio tour.
Antenna worked with the team to create a linear multimedia tour, containing lively content in multiple languages that stayed true to the Jail's history and ambience. This tour offers informative, immersive, and entertaining exploration of the Inveraray Jail site, aimed primarily at an adult audience but suitable for family and school groups. The tour uses narration, dramatization, sound effects, and soundscapes to create a unique audio experience.
The old soundscapes used in the Jail were updated to compliment with the audio tour content. Additionally, English-only courtroom scenes played on the old soundscape were re-written and brought into the multimedia guide and translated into multiple languages so more guests could enjoy the experience.
The tour provides a series of dramatic snapshots of life at The Courthouse, The Old Prison, and The New Prison respectively. Visitors meet a variety of characters, including real characters from the Jail's history, ranging from jailors, governors, and inmates. The tour encourages discussion and interaction with physical objects displayed in the cells, such as hammocks, and the notorious Whipping Table. 
The tour respects the reality of the prison’s grim nineteenth-century atmosphere and includes many relevant historical facts as possible behind each stop while using appropriate drama and humour to add extra dimensions to the visitor experience.
The tour compliments on-site dramatization. The Jail staff who dress up in costume and character throughout the jail are integrated into the tour, maintaining a completely immersive and fun experience for guests.
Outcome
The multimedia guide is included in the visitor ticket price and is optional for guests to use. Many people have left outstanding reviews online:
  • "This was a unique experience and the audio guide gave very useful and in-depth info about the jail. Definitely worth the price." Visitor, Leeds, U.K.
  • "Lots to see in this old prison. Follow the signs around and helpful staff will also add to the experience. You can get an audio guide in your language to take around with you." Visitor, Kampala, Uganda
  • "Do ensure you get the audio guide which is exceptionally well done." Visitor, Birmingham, U.K.
One guest even said that the audio-guide completely changes the experience for the better, and using it is a must!

  • "Went here with some of my family for a visit. When we entered, some of our group took the guide and some did not. The ones who did not use the audio guide were wondering what was keeping the ones who had. On leaving, you would think we had been on different tour! If you want to enjoy the jail, use the guide!" Visitor, Glasgow, U.K.

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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