National Army Museum - how do you keep your profile alive during a period of closure?

A rearguard action to keep the profile of the National Army Museum alive during the three years it has been closed for major redevelopment will finally end when it reopens on 30 March.

British Army recruitment poster from 1990. One of the exhibits at the National Army Museum
British Army recruitment poster from 1990. One of the exhibits at the National Army Museum
The temporary closure began in April 2014, which meant it was shut to visitors during the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, as well as the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

Genevieve Adkins, the museum’s assistant director, public programmes, told PRWeek: "There have been various ways in which we have kept our profile during the closure. We have created online resources that we have been able to promote, looking at topics such as conscription and anniversaries including the Battle of the Somme."

Recruitment poster from the First World War

Individual ‘soldier stories’, showcasing personal tales from the National Army Museum’s archives, have been promoted online on a monthly basis since June 2014. 

To date, these have resulted in 268 pieces of coverage with a total circulation of 38,129,817 and an AVE of £839,610.




The £23.75 million building project, part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has changed the look and feel of the museum. 

It now has five new thematic galleries – soldier, army, battle, society and insight – containing more than 2,500 objects, which will chronicle the story of the British Army since the 17th century. 

Meanwhile, a team of agencies has been working behind the scenes in a major rebranding exercise – with a new logo, brand, and website announced yesterday.

Creative agencies Small Back Room, Premm Design, and ABG Design are behind the new brand, while Drupal specialist Deeson created the new website. 

Being ‘open to question’ is the concept behind the new brand, with a focus on "surprising aspects that people wouldn’t expect from an army museum" and appealing "to the widest possible audience," Adkins said.

"Our brand essence ‘Interpret: Transform' sits at the heart of all our messaging as we aim to transform people’s engagement with the Museum through our stories and how we communicate them."

She added: "The brand reflects a stronger and more focused identity, both online and off, and has been created to increase the museum’s presence and power in the marketplace."

Balkan dusk, Bosnia (pic credit: NAM)

The new look is inspired by traditional British Army colours, materials and textures, with ‘Normandy Green’ the corporate colour and a military camouflage effect, using the museum's name, dubbed 'NAMouflage.' 

PR agency Sutton, creative agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, and media buying agency AKA, were appointed last year to help with comms for the launch of the new look National Army Museum.

The museum is under pressure to broaden its support in a bid to hit a visitor target of 340,000 this year – up from 250,000 the year before it closed.

The reopening "will definitely be one of the biggest projects the Museum and the marketing and communications team has worked on," according to Adkins.


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