Oakham Castle

A digital interactive and "Design your own horseshoe" game exhibit interpret Oakham Castle's history and its unique collection of horseshoes traditionally donated by visiting dignitaries.
Rutland County Council received £2.2 million funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out extensive restoration work to restore the Great Hall and Castle Walls of Oakham Castle and to improve access to the site. The castle is one of the finest examples of late 12th century domestic architecture in England.

Oakham Castle is particularly well known for the collection of horseshoes in the Great Hall, donated by visiting royalty, peers of the realm, clergy, and members of the judiciary as a traditional way to commemorate their visits. Hung on the walls of the Great Hall, 230 horseshoes dating from 1470 to the present day make an impressive display.

Working as part of a team led by interpretive design consultancy, PLB, we have been involved with creating two digital interactive exhibits that allow visitors to take a closer look at these historic items.
We created a mobile website designed to work on-site, off-site and on ‘bring your own devices’. The website makes extensive use of client content and interaction to create a media rich experience. Whilst currently the exhibits are installed permanently to site, our use of HTML5 gives them options in the future to introduce the use of tablets or use them on a ‘bring your own device’ basis.
Interactive exhibit includes highlights of the horseshoe collection that can be explored through a database, a timeline of the horseshoes’ history, and a pairs game that allows visitors to learn more about the significance of the different designs and styles of horseshoe and how they relate to the different types of person who gave them as gifts.

Exploring the Collection

Collection Highlights


Pairs game

Design Your Own Horseshoe Interactive

The styles, themes and colours of the different horseshoes have different meanings. This interactive gives visitors the chance to design their own personalised horseshoe, choosing from a range of different elements, using gamification to reinforce their newly-gained knowledge of the horseshoes’ history and significance.

The completed horseshoes can be published to Oakham Castle’s Facebook page encouraging further engagement with the experience, driving traffic to the page, and reinforcing the Oakham Castle brand on social media. The personalised horseshoe is stored in a database so that the visitor can see it again on future visits.Double Click to Edit