Protect and Survive: Britain’s Cold War Revealed
The National Archives
4 April – 9 November 2019
A project with Simon Leach Design
Curated by Mark Dunton and The National Archives
Exhibition build by James Rowlands
Lighting design by Dha
Graphic production by Stylo and LTD Limited
Photography by Philip Durrant
This exhibition marks the 70th anniversary of the formation of NATO and the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The design recalls the late 1970s and early 1980s at the height of the Cold War. One half is conceived as a civil defence bunker telling the story of government planning and preparations for nuclear war. The other half is a domestic setting, focussed on daily life and cold war culture. Key exhibits include the 1980 Protect and Survive manual for households and the 1983 Wintex-Cimex NATO excercise files.
We worked closely with the curatorial team to design authentic-looking fall-out maps, nuclear information charts, MI5 spy files and offical passes. We sought to strike a careful balance between new art and original archive material, so that visitors feel they are immersed in the period. Production techniques were varied and included laser engraved edge-lit acrylic maps, engraved acrylic signage and reproduction poster prints.