Our new exhibition ‘Commando Mind’ showcases stories of incredible challenges that Royal Marines faced and successfully surmounted, in non combat situations. With little more than the working title of ‘spirit’ we set about creating the exhibition…
First of all, the project team did some brain storming. We tried to nail down the attributes of the Commando mind, and to work out the different types of challenges that Royal Marines have faced. When we’d brainstormed lots of different ideas, we set about trying to think of contemporary Royal Marines stories that embodied the mindset and different types of challenges.
We were pleased with ourselves after we’d come up with the list of ten Royal Marines. After all we had a list of Olympians, polar explorers, round-the-world yachtsmen, Atlantic rowers, amputees competing in sporting challenges and those that had averted humanitarian disasters. It just left us with two small problems: we didn’t have any objects in the collection to tell these stories, and we only had the contact details for one of the Royal Marines involved.
What came next was a few nervous months of painstakingly trying to track down these featured Royal Marines. Once contact was made, we had to get them to dig out photos and objects relating to their challenges. The biggest problem we found was that the people we’d picked were of the adventurous type, so often there big gaps in correspondence whilst the Marines climbed mountains or went on another expedition.
In the end, we managed to contact 9 of the 11 Royal Marines on our wish list, and along the way we were suggested countless other stories we could have used. Whilst we came pretty close to having very little content in the exhibition, in the weeks leading up to the exhibition the participants all came forward with images and objects. Our designer could then get to work, and our exhibition could finally take shape.
From the woolly idea of ‘wouldn’t it be great to do an exhibition about the commando mindset’ we now have a fully formed engaging exhibition telling incredible stories of human endeavour.
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