Hyde Park Barracks Museum

This UNESCO World Heritage Site was the administrative hub for Britain’s transportation program, moving convicts to Australia as forced labor for building the colony. Utilizing state-of-the-art Bluetooth audio technology and visitor tracking software, visitors walk through one of Australia’s oldest buildings and listen to the lived experience of convicts, immigrant women and Aboriginal people impacted by European settlement.


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Practice Area


Sydney Living Museums


The Challenge

How could we best tell the story of the Barracks through the voices of those whose lives it touched? And how could we depict the impact of the Barracks on indigenous populations? Extending the museum’s original interpretive foundation with personal stories that would allow connection to past inhabitants of the Barracks and the introduction of global context and contemporary significance would build the site’s international profile.

Project Vision

For visitors to truly understand the complex history and heritage of the site, traditional exhibit approaches alone would not suffice. Through state-of-the-art Bluetooth audio technology and visitor tracking software, individual voices and stories are at the heart of the exhibits. As visitors move through physical installations and artifacts, they trigger audio of first-hand accounts retold by voice actors and descendants of those who lived in and were affected by the Barracks. In this way, visitors are offered multiple perspectives and contemporary connections as opposed to a singular narrative.

Displaying over 4000 original artifacts, many found underneath the Barracks floorboards or between joists, the exhibition provides a direct link to items worn, touched and treasured by past residents—including an intact convict shirt and leather shoe, some of the world’s few remaining examples of convict life. It is a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with Australia’s past.

Sydney 1848.

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Frontier Violence.

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Multiple Perspectives.

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The Journey.

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Design + Execution

This narrative was delivered through a unique approach that centered on the idea that “unless emotion is present, there is no learning.” Our solution featured cutting- edge visitor tracking technology and an immersive audio experience to visitors as they move through the historic building. The system uses real- time positioning technology to determine a visitor’s location within the space. The bespoke software intelligently tracks where the visitor has been, as well as where they should go, then plays different audio based upon their specific journey. This ensured a cohesive visitor experience that maintained narrative integrity and provided wayfinding throughout two separate buildings and three floors that make up the Hyde Park Barracks Museum.

The Journey – infinity mirror view.

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Convict’s Colony Project.

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Becoming a Convict.

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Project Details
This exhibition is so beautifully considered from end to end. Really appreciated the variety of ways digital content was presented, and the very immersive quality the build out and content came together.
Juror 1
I liked how they used live audio instead of lots of text to create an immersive emotional and intimate experience. It enabled visitors to engage more closely with the story and allowed the designers to focus on strong spatial imagery.
Juror 2
Design Team

Local Projects

Photo Credits

Local Projects (photography/videography)

Open Date

March 2020