The Treaty, 1921: Records from the Archives

The National Archives appointed EPIC to design and deliver the flagship element of its 2021 commemorative programme: an exhibition on the events that led to the signing of an historic treaty between Britain and Ireland – the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

This is a significant exhibition, bringing key records relating to the foundation of the State to the public for the first time in 100 years... It is an honour for me as Taoiseach to attend this exhibition.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

The National Archives celebrating the centenary of commemorations wished to mark the occasion with a number of events. Its key event was an exhibition around the Anglo-Irish Treaty, never viewed by the public before.

For EPIC, this project was twofold, the design and delivery of a temporary exhibition displayed at the Coach House in Dublin Castle, to open on 6th December 2021, - exactly 100 years on from the signing of the Treaty - and a short preview exhibition at the British Academy in London in October 2021. The exhibition ran for four months until March 2022. It received over 16,000 visitors despite the Covid-19 restrictions.

One of the preliminary tasks was to review and refine the preliminary narrative framework that had already been developed by the client team in conjunction with the Royal Irish Academy. EPIC collaborated with the client stakeholders to refine the story and to map out how it would unfold within the exhibition spaces.

EPIC’s designers produced a visual identity for the exhibition. This included a logotype, typographic style guides, and a colour palette that was used to demarcate the different sections of the exhibition, presenting the detailed interpretive plan for approval.

Video Showcase

With the interpretive plan approved, EPIC prepared forms of tender for all specialist contractor services, including London-specific services. This phase of the project required the development of detailed production drawings and specifications for all print, construction and lighting systems for the venues in London and Dublin. Audio/visual hardware systems (projectors, audio domes, touchscreens) were also developed as part of this work.

EPIC prepared creative style guides and production notes for the audio and visual content planned for the exhibition. This included production guides and scripts for the audio re-enactments, storyboards for the historic video newsreels and design style guides for the digital touchscreen interfaces.

With specialist contractors on-boarded, EPIC oversaw the production, delivery and install of all exhibition elements in both venues. In conjunction with the client’s requirement to preserve the legacy of the exhibition, EPIC proposed that a virtual tour be created and hosted on the National Archives website. EPIC worked closely with a specialist contractor to produce a 3D virtual tour that allows users to navigate through the exhibition spaces. Users may read the wall panels, click on hotspots to view artefacts or read more information; and access audio and video files throughout the tour.

On completion, the London exhibition was taken down intact and stored in the Irish Embassy for possible future display.

Project Details:

Client: National Archives, Ireland

Date: March 2021 to March 2022

Location: Dublin Castle Coach House

Collaborated with:
Bitsixteen, Ediotech Gmbh, Digisoft Media, Jack Restan Display

    Services Provided

  • Interpretive design
  • Concept to detailed design production
  • Content proof reading
  • Procurement of specialist contractors
  • On-site co-ordination and management
  • Project Management

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