The People’s History Museum


150 Years of the Co-operative


Identity / Exhibition / Launch event

“It was a great night and visitors really love the exhibition. My expectations have been exceeded.”

Louise Sutherland
Head of Collections and Engagement

Following a pitch, Darkhorse were asked to create a brand, exhibition and supporting marketing material for this major exhibition celebrating 150 years of The Co-operative.

Our aim was to showcase the Co-op as ‘the people’s business’. A central graphic was created for the exhibtion based on the wheatsheaf that was part of the original logo of the Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS). The colour yellow was heavily used by the early CWS so this was the primary brand colour. The atmosphere of the CWS early days is recreated by using large scale reproduction of archived images and adverts.

Inspiration for the story telling and interactive elements came from the wealth of material in the CWS archive. 29,249 visitors have seen the exhibition since the opening day which represents a 33% increase on visitors when compared to the same period the previous year.

The project required that we:

  • Work with the People’s History Museum curator and conservators to select, conserve and mount objects for display
  • Work with archivists at the Labour History Archive and The National Co-operative Archive to select archive material for display
  • Develop interpretive themes for guiding the development of content including the narrative, object and archive displays and interactives
  • Research the history of The Co-operative and work closely with The Co-operative Membership Development Manager to ensure the delivery of the key heritage messages
  • Research and obtain high resolution images and illustrations for inclusion in the exhibition
  • Work with the museum learning and events team to develop an associated engagement programme
  • Work with the museum development staff to guide the production of museum shop stock (for sale during the exhibition)
  • Work closely with the museum marketing staff to ensure effective exhibition promotion

We project managed the exhibition and produced an interpretation plan, including interpretive objectives, which informed the exhibition layout and themes as well as the content development, object selection and interactives.