The new Design Museum on film

My name is Kirsty Millward, and I am the Collections Officer at the Design Museum. I am responsible for the management and administration of the permanent collections, the new Sackler Library and the Design Museum’s archives. Working as a Collections Officer means no two days at the office are ever the same, which certainly keeps me on my toes!

As part of the move to our new home in Kensington – which opens to the public on 24 November 2016 – the creative agency Gravity Road were appointed to create a launch campaign. In collaboration with the production company Friend London, they created an advert for the Design Museum, which will be seen across our social media platforms and rolled out in 627 cinema screens in London in October.

Several objects from the Design Museum’s permanent collection were filmed for the advert. Filming took place over three days in early September which included a full day in the studio and a location shoot in a beautiful house in North London. In preparation, each object had to be condition checked and carefully packed for transportation. On the days of filming, I was on hand to advise best handling practices and facilitate the safe transport of objects between locations and for their safe return to store.


I had never been to a film shoot before so I didn’t know what to expect. The filmmakers took painstaking care to illuminate the objects, positioning reflector boards to create the best lighting effect. The unit crew also managed motion control, focus and sound to capture the dynamic shots. It was fascinating to see how it could take more than three hours (not including administration time from all the various teams involved) to prepare and film something that will only appear for a few seconds in the final advert.

It was a very exciting experience, and not something I would normally expect to do as Collections Officer. Museums have a huge amount of objects on display and often even more behind the scenes in their stores. Opening up collections and improving access is necessary if we are to make the most of our ‘unseen’ objects and attract new audiences. On this basis, filming objects is a great way of making the Design Museum’s collection come to life.

Stay tuned to see the results on social media, or in a cinema near you!

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