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White Light Provides Technical Support on Hintze Hall Reopening

VIP launch of Hintze Hall, 13th July 2017
Last week saw the reopening of Hintze Hall at the National History Museum, London. The Hall has been one of the Museum’s pivotal spaces since it first opened in 1881 and this reopening marks one of the museum’s largest transformations in its 136 year history. The evening also saw the unveiling of the new centrepiece within the space – a stunning 25.2 metre real blue whale skeleton. As an approved supplier to the Natural History Museum, White Light was called upon to provide the complete technical solutions for the occasion.
 
Last Thursday’s highly-anticipated reopening was attended by more than 1,000 people. Alongside the revealing of the new whale skeleton, the space also contains hundreds of new specimens on display. Steven Burnham, WL’s Project Manager, comments: “This was the first time the space had been seen by the public so, naturally, the Museum wanted to create an unforgettable experience. They wanted to create something that was immersive; allowing all of the attendees to really feel part of the space as well as enhance the artefacts on display”.
 
As a result, Steven and the WL team worked closely with Katie Nugent, Head of Special Events at the National History Museum, in order to offer a range of solutions that would create an immersive feel. Steven states: “It was decided that when guests arrived, rather than simply walk into the space, they would enter through a purpose-built tunnel. For the tunnel, we provided the interior lighting along with a soundscape that played whale and ocean noises; allowing a slow build to the revelation of the whale”.
 
NHM2
Once guests finished moving along the tunnel, they then passed through a specially-installed fog screen before making their way into the main space. Steven adds: “We had Katie visit our warehouse space in Wimbledon where we demonstrated the fog screen. She was impressed with the effect it provided and knew it would be ideal for the reopening”.
 
Once guests arrived in Hintze Hall, they were greeted by the unveiling of the newly placed whale. It was here that WL was called upon to create an unforgettable spectacle which would showcase this breath-taking centrepiece. Steven adds: “We were asked to create a lighting show that would bring the whale to life. Working again with Katie, along with the caterers Rhubarb, we drew on a range of suitable tones and textures which enhanced the experience of seeing the whale for the first time”.
 
VIP launch of Hintze Hall, 13th July 2017
WL also lit the new exhibitions which were on display throughout. To perpetuate the immersive theme, the Museum had a 14 piece orchestra who were positioned all across the Hall in various places; ensuring that every single guest felt part of the evening. Steven adds: “For the orchestra, we had to ensure that each musician had an individual microphone to allow for even coverage throughout the space”.
 
Hintze Hall has now reopened following what was a hugely successful launch. Katie comments: “Having the whale at the centre point of the Museum (a species that was once endangered) is a critical reminder of the fragility of life and how we have a responsibility towards the planet we live in. We were very keen to highlight the significance of this new exhibit within our Hintze Hall space and thanks to the intricate planning from WL, along with the company’s work on the evening, we were able to achieve this”.  
Photos courtesy of the National History Museum.