Rip it Up

Design of the first major exhibition dedicated to Scottish pop music at the National Museum of Scotland. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey exploring over 50 years of Scotland’s musical culture through a wealth of material, much of it loaned directly from the artists themselves. The exhibition features artists and bands including Lonnie Donegan, Gerry Rafferty, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Lulu, The Rezillos, Midge Ure, Simple Minds, The Skids, Big Country, Garbage, Franz Ferdinand and Young Fathers, amongst others.

Images copyright National Museums Scotland,
Film courtesy of National Museums Scotland


National Museums Scotland


Exhibition Design
Graphic Design
Digital Strategy
Interactive Design
Project Management

Scottish Design Awards
Finalist, 2019


Celebrating the stories of Scotland’s musicians from influential indie pioneers to global superstars, the exhibition takes visitors on a journey from the days of the dancehalls to the emergence of pop in an explosion of colour in the ‘60s, through ‘70s New Wave up to the present day. We reflected the rich diversity of Scottish pop music, not only through profiles and objects, but with colour, pattern and texture to reflect the different themes and genres. The digital strategy saw the careful integration of music and film throughout, minimising sound spill, and culminating in a ‘live’ immersive surround-sound experience.

“Like Scottish pop itself, this exhibition keeps on giving.”

The Times

Immersive displays

Combining original stage outfits, instruments, memorabilia, props, film and music, Rip It Up tells the stories of global stars and independent local heroes from pop’s early days right up to today’s outstanding newcomers. We combined original material and musical instruments with large-scale imagery of featured artists, to give context to the objects and reflect the different decades. We designed sloped angular plinths to create height and present objects in dramatic and dynamic ways. Each zone had a distinct look and feel, from ‘Going Global’ with its backstage setting created through a mixture of drapes, gauze, scaffolding and theatrical lighting, to the nostalgia of the ’70s and ’80s New Wave which integrates bright colour, synthetic acrylic and film presented inside retro television sets.

“I can’t recommend the exhibition Rip It Up highly enough. An engaging and glitzy wander through the history of Pop in Scotland via folk, skiffle, R&B beat, rock, punk, glam, indie, dance, hip hop and more! LOVED The Rezillos bit!”

Phill Jupitus, Comedian and Actor

Digital strategy

Introducing sound was critical to the visitor experience, which was delivered through a careful balance of broadcast audio and audio content via headsets. Visitors can delve deeper into the Scottish Pop back-catalogue through a digital Jukebox, and each area of the exhibition features a mixed tape soundtrack creating a sensory experience to transport visitors to that era. Video footage is used throughout and the exhibition culminates in an immersive, uplifting ‘live’ music experience featuring footage from some of Scotland’s memorable live gigs and festivals.

“It’s a must see show – the music, style, costume, energy that makes up Scotland’s story. Congratulations all!”

Fiona Hyslop, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture

“Impressively comprehensive celebration of Scotland’s diverse musical heritage . . . a major cultural event.”

The Scotsman

Discover More

Rangers Museum

Rangers Football Club

Bonnie Prince Charlie & the Jacobites

National Museums Scotland

Adventure Planet

National Museums Scotland