Discovery Museum | Fabricating Histories

Visual Concepts | Prop Making | Promotional Materials | Workshop Design and Delivery

Fabricating Histories was an exhibition celebrating an almost, might-have-been world, held at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne's Science and Industry museum.

I was invited to react to the exhibition and create work to inspire the visitors into taking part and inventing their own contraptions over a weekend of Gigantic Cardboard Inventing workshops which we ran in the appropriately named Great Hall at the museum.

Designing and installing a large airship to suspend above the workshop space re-imagining Royal Mail postal delivery should history have taken us down the route of dirigibles and not vans, which lets face it would've been much more fun! 

Alongside this larger piece I produced a series of smaller inventions that you can see below. Using these to spark the imagination of those taking part as well as putting together some sharable content to promote the exhibition and associated events.

  • The Puddle Hoppers - Low Velocity Hover Boots

  • Professor Lotso's Incredible Animal Translation Devise

  • Inventors Essential : Headset

  • Inventors Essential : Mobile Control Unit

  • Kinetic Glider Wings


Fascinating Histories


The story of our 19th century inventors and pioneers is all around us, but with so many experiments, ideas and notions jostling for position, history could have lurched off on a tangent at any moment and become very different.

What if Brunel had graced Sunderland with a vast suspension bridge, or Lovelace & Babbage had computerised the 1840s? What if steam-powered airships had really taken off?

From the northern engineers behind the age of steam to the New Victorians, Fabricating Histories turns history on its head and takes a closer look at the raggedy edges, broken ends, loops and knots, the alternative threads of history that might have been.

The exhibition celebrated this almost, might-have-been world, sitting re-interpreted pieces from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums collections produced by artists and designers amongst the inventions that were.

The exhibition was a collaboration between Northumbria University, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and supported by Arts Council England.

Lottie Smith, Cardboard, TWAM, discovery museum, fascinating histories, steampunk, artist in residence, make your play, what will you invent?
Lottie Smith, Cardboard, TWAM, discovery museum, fascinating histories, steampunk, artist in residence, make you play, what will you invent?, propmaker, instructables, wearable wings

There are instructions on how to make the Glider wings over on Instructables if you're so inclined.

They even won a prize so hopefully that means they're easy to follow -> HERE

© 2020 | UK | Lottie Smith | cutting and sticking since 1985                                            

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TWAM Play+Invent Cardboard Airship