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Tobin Brothers Funerals : Creative Direction - Museum Design

For over 80 years Tobin Brothers Funerals has been committed to providing families with unparalleled levels of service and care to help client families celebrate the life of their loved one. In October 2014, the Tobin Brothers Museum was opened to mark this anniversary.

This project saw a blank white room transform into what Tobin Brothers Funerals Chairman, Michael Tobin, refers to as a ‘living museum’, a space that houses a fascinating history of the family owned company, a space that is a testament to the innovation and professionalism of the people who work there and a space that will evolve and grow through the years just as the company continues to evolve and grow.

The fine craftsmanship of the dark polished wooden cabinetry along the main wall make an immediate impact, within them are carefully curated historical objects, tools and documents related to the funeral industry. The cabinetry acts as a historical timeline, with sections within it moving from funeral documents and records from the 1800’s and the very first Tobin Brothers advertisement, through to the Tobin Family tree and photos, coffin making tools, photos of the coffin making process and the arrangement manuals and guides for funeral directors, documentation and acknowlegements of community events, awards and conventions, brochures and advertising material. Along the front of the cabinetry is a vinyl timeline showing images of the chapels, and images of the company vehicles in order of acquisition.

In the centre of the cabinetry strikingly sits an original hand crafted coffin (circa 1930) highlighted by lights taken from the recently acquired Herbert King Chapel. Around the corner is one of four vinyl wrapped walls, this one showing the most notable funerals in the companies history, the other three detailing a dated timeline of the company history.

A recreation of the old Herbert King Chapel is first to greet visitors and is a hero within the space, housing the original stained glass windows and altar within a custom built replica sandstone wall, with original altar and brass fittings standing proud, as though the front section of the original chapel has been lifted and relocated into the museum space. The original brass lecturn was custom altered to house an iPad which wirelessly connects to the plasma TV screen integrated into the wall, this enables seamless viewing of company training videos, and various documentaries and features from the Tobin Brothers YouTube channel.

Laura Flowerday, the key designer of the Museum space, spent several months researching, conceptualising and project managing each section down to their finest details. Working within a relatively confined floor space, Laura’s prudence in developing effective solutions to present, display and ultimately tell a story proved overwhelmingly successful.