A beating heart, a magic trick, a text from the King, and a palace made of sound…. How can you create meaningful experiences of history in a building no longer exists?
Whitehall Palace was once the largest palace in Europe; comprising 1,500-plus rooms. It was the site of some of the most iconic and dramatic events in British history – until it was destroyed by fire 300 years ago. Banqueting House, looked after by us at Historic Royal Palaces, is the sole surviving part.
The Lost Palace will be a new visitor experience, opening summer 2016, allowing us to tell these stories as ‘history where it happened’ for the first time. We want people to sense these lost spaces and encounter the characters that once inhabited them: to immerse themselves in the stories of these worlds – where history is performed and participated in.
To achieve this, we’re establishing a digital R&D practice within the organisation for the first time. We’ve already run an open call competition within the creative technology community to create working prototypes. This open and honest talk will share how we did this, how well it worked, what we learned from it – and what we’re doing next.