Q&A with Theresa Macaulay

Eleanor Mills, 23.02.2016
The manager of the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising discusses its recent move
The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising recently moved from Colville Mews in Notting Hill, London to larger premises in the same area on Lancaster Road. Theresa Macaulay, the museum's manager, discusses the move.

Why was it necessary for the museum to move? Has it come at great cost?


The museum had been looking for a new, larger location for several years.

The organisation had outgrown its cosy home in Colville Mews and we wanted to put more of the collection on show.

We were responding to stakeholder and visitor feedback and were hunting for somewhere with better access, higher visibility, increased exhibition space, room for better facilities, larger venue space and a dedicated learning space.

All of these objectives were toward our goal of creating an exceptional visitor experience and an improved working environment for our wonderful team.

The relocation project was budgeted at £1.6m, and we’ve done well at sticking to it. We secured the new premises in March 2015 and our public launch of the new space is ready to take place in March 2016. It’s been a busy year.

What’s the most exciting, innovative aspect of the new space in Notting Hill?

With a year to renovate, relocate, re-curate, fundraise for the project and build a team to manage a space four times as large, sustainably, I have to confess and say we haven’t had time to entirely reinvent ourselves.

We have a new, extended and improved version of our incredible Time Tunnel, where you can take a walking journey through everyday life from the Victorian times to present day.

There’s much more to see. If I’m honest the most exciting aspect for me is our new café and garden, simple fresh food and great coffee in a relaxing atmosphere – I never need to leave the building again.

Why is it important to conserve and collect our advertising history?

The Robert Opie Collection, which the museum houses, is of international significance. It records the social history of the lives of everyday people in a way nothing else can, through conserving the things we all throw away.

The collection operates as an exceptional resource for those studying and working in marketing, business, design and branding. Many of the nationals started as one person’s collection, we happen to be in the fascinating position of Robert Opie still being alive and involved in the Museum.

What’s your favourite object in the whole museum and why?

The museum collection really functions as a whole, as a kind of historic jigsaw, but everyone reaches a moment in the chronological display, often earlier than they’d like to admit, when the “I remember that” moment occurs. Long before working at the museum I made a visit and the Secret chocolate bar wrapper was the item that evoked the most positive reaction for me.

I remember just having one or two of them in the early 90s where I grew up in Halifax and thinking they were the next level in luxury, bird's nest-styled chocolate coating with a creamy mousse centre, oh my. Nostalgia is a powerful beast.

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