Pilgrim Roots

An on-line, digital, and audiovisual strategy exploring the heritage of the Pilgrims in and around North Nottinghamshire who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620.

A Once in a Century Opportunity

A turnkey strategy

Successful NLHF second round application development
On-line strategy including digital trails; web-based content, information, learning resources, events and activities
In-gallery films and digital interactives

Wide Sky Design worked closely with Bassetlaw District Council to develop the on-line, digital, and audiovisual strategy for its successful second round application to Heritage Lottery Fund for the development of a project about the heritage of the Pilgrims in and around North Nottinghamshire, some of whom sailed on the Mayflower to America in 1620. The project will marked the 400th anniversary of this historic voyage in 2020.

For the project we utilised a wide range of digital media delivery platforms and formats to enable visitors to fully explore the landscape, places and people of the Pilgrim’s Trail regardless of their location.

We developed the Pilgrim Roots website to promote the project and its benefits; disseminate information, content and resources to a local and worldwide audience, and create a client updatable hub for ongoing events, media and academic research.

We worked with interpretive design consultancy Querceus on the £750,000 development stage of the project on the content development, design and delivery for the scheme of digital interpretation at the new Pilgrims Gallery at Bassetlaw Museum and eight Pilgrim related sites in Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
“This is by far the best new Pilgrim presentation I’ve seen or read about among the 2020 projects here, there, and everywhere.”
Dr Jeremy Bangs, Director of The Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, Netherlands

On-line Presence

On-line, we created a responsive website that includes information about the history of the Roots region and its Pilgrim ancestors alongside ‘signposts’ to current guidance, information and resources for those planning a visit.

It couples curriculum-linked educational and academic material with a self guided tour of the towns and villages in North Nottinghamshire, Doncaster and Lincolnshire that this area's five leading Mayflower passengers once called home, all supported by a downloadable trail map, location-specific videos, podcast streams and downloads that enhance visits to sites on the Pilgrim Trail.

It provides an events calendar, news feeds and social media integration to support ongoing museum activities, and the ability to activate an e-commerce shop in the future to support booking for tours and workshops.

A Fully Supported Package

As part of the package we provided a 12-month support package including the provision of manuals, remote support and staff training sessions covering content updates, site maintenance and hosting platform familiarisation.

All works were completed in close liaison with the client’s project delivery team, subject matter experts and specialist interpretation designer.

Pilgrims Gallery

At the Pilgrims Gallery central hub, we created a series of immersive, informative and playful digital and audiovisual interactives to engage a wide-ranging audience from school educational groups to foreign visitors tracing family roots.

The Gallery has two sections: one part is a reproduction of an early 17th century study and the other is a contemporary exhibition space.

The study is not dissimilar to one which would have existed at Scrooby Manor where Brewster lived. In here, through a mirror, visitors see William recounting four stories: his early life in North Nottinghamshire; the reasons why the Separatists wished to break away from the Church of England; the life the Pilgrims experienced in Leiden, Holland and finally, the journey aboard the Mayflower and their later life in America.  As he tells his stories the fireplace crackles and pops with films appearing from the flames to visualise each tale.

There is also a ‘story chair’ where visitors can sit and listen to King James becoming angry with the Separatists; the child’s voice of Jonathan Brewster talking about being forced to leave his home and everything he is familiar with; Mary Brewster, William’s wife explaining her fears and also her faith, which enabled her to follow her husband to a new and unknown life ahead; and a further story from a traveller along the Great North Road who recounts the secretive and dangerous times that existed in 1608.
“It’s fantastic to see the gallery opening in time for the landmark Mayflower 400 anniversary next year. With many of the ship’s passengers, the Separatists, being from the East Midlands, the story of the Mayflower is intrinsic to the heritage of the area, and thanks to National Lottery players the inspiring stories of their journeys and pursuit of tolerance and freedom, will live on through the gallery.”
John Everitt, Committee member for England: Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Contemporary Exhibition Space

The exhibition space includes interpretation highlighting the themes of Religious Tolerance, Freedom and Migration. These challenges are as relevant in today’s world as they were when the Separatists fought for the right to practice their beliefs. There are panels that give more information on the women and children involved in the Pilgrim story, and others that tell of the Wampanoag, the Native Americans who lived in Massachusetts when the Mayflower landed in 1620.

There are dressing up costumes, and old fashioned games such as Pilgrim dominoes contrasted with quizzes on modern tablets that allow visitors to try their hand at being a Pilgrim. A series of questions challenge visitors to face the harsh realities of a Pilgrim’s life that decide their future. Beautiful animated illustrations bring the interactive to life.

Contemporary Exhibition Space

We worked closely with Bassetlaw District Council to ensure that visitors of whatever age would find the experience fun, entertaining and thought-provoking. Assigning children the character of one of the Mayflower’s passengers for example, brings home to them the reality that half of the people who travelled on the ship died during that first winter in America.

A map explorer that enables visitors to compare John Speed’s map of Nottinghamshire 1611 with a modern-day map to explore points of interest on the Pilgrim Trail. The Map Explorer acts as a springboard into the landscape of the Pilgrim’s. Visitors can use the app to plan their visit to locations on the Pilgrim’s Trail stretching across Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Content is fully updatable using Wide Sky’s content management system.
“One of the features within the gallery that I am most proud of is how we have tackled telling the controversial aspects of the subject of colonisation. We have done this by working closely with the Wampanoag nation with whom we have built a strong relationship and they have written their own story and provided the images that accompany those panels.”
Bassetlaw District Council’s Deputy Leader Councillor Jo White