Infamous South African Prison to be converted into state of the art museum experience
Posted by Designtalk on May 22, 2014
The Old Prison Museum in Pietermaritzburg has exceptional historic significance for South Africa and its people. The building is a monument for the ill-treatment of human rights in South Africa during colonial rule and Apartheid era.
Formula D interactive has been commissioned by Project Gateway to produce an interactive museum experience based on a concept the firm developed for the site in 2011. Whilst maintaining the original layout and harsh features of the location, the proposed exhibition enhances the authentic experience with information graphics as well as cutting edge multimedia displays.
By converting the Old Prison Museum to a world-class museum exhibition, Project Gateway and funding institutions will not only make sure that important struggle activists who were imprisoned here, will stay in good memory, they will also strengthen Pietermaritzburg’s yield regarding the increasing numbers of tourists in the region.
The 127 years old prison history spans across historical eras from Colonial South Africa, Apartheid, the Liberation Struggle, to the first election in South Africa in 1994.
Prisoners included famous leaders and historical figures, such as Nelson Mandela, King Dinizulu, Kasturba Gandhi (Gandhi’s wife), Harry Gwala, Moses Mabhida, Peter Brown, A S Chetty, Omar Essack and Derick Marsh to name a few.
The first cell block has been declared a National Monument and is one of the oldest buildings in Pietermaritzburg. The Old Prison is also part of The Freedom Route which aims to engage tourists in the rich struggle history of the area.
Since the conceptual planning in 2011 and the presentation of a concept book by Formula D, Project Gateway have tried to acquire funding for the implementation of various interactive museum exhibits and graphics. Finally, in early 2014 funding was granted paving the way for the vision of an attractive contemporary museum to become a reality.
“Formula D’s compelling concept book for the museum was key to securing funding for the project. We are looking forward to continue working with them to make our museum an outstanding visitor experience”, says Di Milford, Head of Donor marketing and PR at Project Gateway.
The museum is scheduled to open doors for the South African school holidays at the end of 2014.