Winston Churchill as you've never seen him before - the spectacular new Silverlight exhibit

Seventy years ago on 10th May, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Britain. To commemorate the occasion, the Imperial War Museum is installing a compelling new interactive exhibit at the Churchill War Rooms in Whitehall.
By: Lara Page
 
June 1, 2010 - PRLog -- Seventy years ago on 10th May, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Britain. To commemorate the occasion, the Imperial War Museum is installing a compelling new interactive exhibit at the Churchill War Rooms in Whitehall.

This is an interactive web-based application, which allows visitors to view hundreds of superior-quality images in a Deep Zoom mosaic built by Microsoft Silverlight specialists, Shoothill.

The mosaic features a giant image of Churchill, which viewers can ‘zoom into’ to see hundreds of other captivating pictures of the great man, in addition to private letters, documents, audio files and video footage.

Whilst museums have used Microsoft Silverlight to supplement their online content, Shoothill and the Imperial War Museum have broken new ground with the Churchill project, as it is the first ever Silverlight application to be used within a museum exhibit.

As well as familiar photographs depicting Churchill smoking his beloved cigars and giving the famous ‘V’ for ‘Victory’ sign, there are poignant snapshots from his youth and the most trying periods of his political career.

Churchill led the country through most of World War II including the terrifying Blitz bombings of Britain by Nazi Germany between 1940 and 1941, and there are several striking pictures depicting Churchill inspecting the damage to various parts of the country after devastating air raids.

In equal measure, the mosaic features spectacular pictures of Churchill at play, engaging in favourite pursuits such as riding his polo pony (he was a keen player in his younger years), holidaying in glamorous spots like Monte Carlo and relaxing aboard Aristotle Onassis’s luxury yacht in Greece.

Several original documents and letters from Churchill College Archives are also embedded within the mosaic, providing a fascinating insight into Churchill’s personal life. For instance, the school report issued by St George’s School in Ascot in November 1883 reflects an unhappy early education.

Users can zoom in to read personal letters written to Churchill by his wife Clementine, who gently reprimands him about his conduct towards colleagues, as well as the letter Winston Churchill penned to his predecessor, Neville Chamberlain, to outline his carefully-selected War Cabinet staff on his first full day as Prime Minister.

There are also selected sound bites and some fascinating video footage from his visit to Normandy after the successful Allied landings in June 1944.

The Deep Zoom mosaic will be available to visitors at the underground Churchill War Rooms on Horse Guards Road, London, as well as on their website at www.iwm.org.uk/deepzoom

Rod Plummer, Managing Director of Shoothill, said: “This project was very close to my heart as Winston Churchill is one of my personal heroes, and the opportunity of working closely with the Imperial War Museum and the Churchill War Rooms was just too good to miss.”

“The original content was fascinating to work with and the power of a Deep Zoom Tribute wall as an interactive, educational tool is there for all to see.  

“We hope that it will be as appealing to users to absorb as much about this great man as it was for us to create it.”

Mark Quirk, Silverlight Product Manager at Microsoft UK, added: “I’ve seen a lot of great Silverlight projects and this is the first time I’ve seen it used within an exhibition like this.

“I’m getting used to being surprised by the team at Shoothill!”

ENDS.

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Shoothill are a Microsoft software development firm specialising in Silverlight and Bing Maps Development - check out our work at www.shoothill.com
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Tags:Winston Churchill, MICROSOFT, Silverlight, Shoothill, Deep Zoom, Museum
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