Education and Heritage Centre
National Football Stadium at Windsor Park
The Education and Heritage Centre (EHC) was not intended to be a museum filled with relics of the past but rather an interactive, enjoyable and educational experience with wide-ranging audience appeal.
We drilled into the client’s objectives through stakeholder meetings to inform our Interpretive Brief. Visitor profiles captured the motivations and interests of the target audience groups:
School-age boys and girls
Older football fans
Weekend tourists to Belfast.
We wanted every person who came to the EHC to leave having learnt more about Northern Ireland’s long footballing history, feeling pride in the national team’s achievements and inspired to become more involved in the sport, through watching, volunteering or participating.
So we charted a thematic journey through Northern Ireland’s long history as a footballing nation: the triumphs and the tragedies – including the invention of the penalty kick, legendary players and the history of the stadium itself.
We designed engaging displays which put the visitor at the heart of the action. It was critical to demonstrate the continuing relevance of sport, interpreting the importance of teamwork and improving performance.
The ‘Practice & Performance’ zone contains ‘Skills’ tutorials and opportunities for physical interaction, as visitors learn more about the building blocks of a player’s optimum performance.
We worked with Movement Innovation Lab (MIL) in Queen’s University, Belfast to develop two large-scale physical interactive: Penalty Pressure and Tricky Tackle. Each interactive is unique to the EHC and use the latest technology – intuitive avatars react to attempts to score a goal or run past a defender.
We commissioned an interpretive stadium model showing four very different eras of the National Football Stadium’s development, installed at a point before visitors enter an adjacent zone dedicated to the stadium itself, complete with restored turnstile, crush barrier and authentic seating.
The ‘Giant Killers’ AV presentation in this zone brings together historic and contemporary footage to tell the story of Northern Ireland’s tenacious spirit and the fans which support them all the way. This film, designed to get hearts racing and blood pumping, represents an emotional high point.
To round off the visitor journey, final zones focus on the legends of the game, including historic audio commentary, and the huge contribution made by the fans, aka ‘The Green and White Army’.
Images courtesy of Bradley Quinn