Mather & Co

Mather & Co – 20 years making heritage attractions

Main Image - Royal Mint Museum

Last month museum and gallery design experts Mather & Co were given the contract for the Belgian Beer Palace exhibition by the city of Brussels, two decades after completing its first UK attraction, the Beefeater Gin Distillery Tour. But it’s not all alcohol-related exhibitions as M+H Advisor finds out from Managing Director Chris Mather who has more than 50 projects under his belt including major sports museums from Norway’s Olympic museum, Silverstone and the National Football Museum to 11th century priories and cathedrals

How does Mather & Co today compare to Mather & Co in 1995?

When I started Mather & Co I had just left Granada after setting up the successful Studios Tour. Our first museum project was working on a factory tour and exhibition with General Motors in Frankfurt. Today, our clients range from sports museums to cathedrals to history museums but we still use that leisure and attractions knowledge I gained at the very start in all of our projects.

What was the company’s philosophy when it was established and has that changed over the years?

When I started Mather & Co, our philosophy was simple: to look for new ways to tell stories, engage visitors and attract new audiences. It’s been at the heart of everything we’ve done since. As a team, we love what we do and try to inject our passion into every project to ensure visitors take as much from the experience as we do. I think as long as we can keep doing that we are on the right track. It’s worked for the last 20 years!

What skills and expertise does the company pride itself on and what makes it distinct from the competition?

We are a highly creative team with varied skills from architectural liaison, specialist exhibition knowledge and content development. Many of our team also have experience of running visitor attractions and museums so we fully understand the practicalities of the museum development process as well as the operations side. This means that we not only design fully functional attractions but that they always have that ‘wow’ factor.

How many projects in the museum and heritage sector have you worked on in the past 20 years?

Too many to count! Within the next 12 months Mather & Co will be completing over ten museums and attractions. We have worked on such a broad range of projects from sports attractions and stadiums tours such as the National Football Museum, Chelsea FC Museum and Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum to wonderful heritage projects like York Minster Revealed, Norton Priory and the National Horseracing Museum.

What have been the highlights?

We are very lucky to have had some amazing experiences and it is difficult to pick out only a few highlights. One of our more recent projects at the Springbok Experience was truly inspirational. In South Africa rugby is much more than a sport and there was a real desire to address the complicated history of the country alongside the love of the game. It was refreshing to work with a client who did not want to shy away from the difficult truths and as a result of that we were able to create something that was much more than just a sports museum.

Other highlights include the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. We were working on the project during the London 2012 Olympics and had the amazing opportunity to see the opening ceremony and visit the Olympic Village. There was no better way to understand how the village works than to walk its streets.

In what ways has the sector changed in the past twenty years and how has Mather & Co managed to adapt and keep going strong?

Visitors are much more technologically savvy today. When we first started mobile phones only made calls and text messages had a 160 character limit! Nowadays almost every museum visitor has a smart phone. We have had to react to this along with other developments in technology. Keeping up-to-date with new technology and looking at exciting and innovative ways to use existing hardware means that we can continue to create amazing experiences that people can’t find elsewhere.

What does the future hold for the company?

Next year we will be opening a number of high profile projects including The Norwegian Olympic Museum and the Royal Mint experience and we will also be completing a significant stage of the Silverstone Heritage Live attraction. So whilst next year is definitely going to be extremely busy we are looking forward to some very exciting times ahead. The business has gone from strength to strength since 1995 and it continues to grow still now. With new project enquiries every day, a sensational list of current clients and a dedicated team the future is looking great! Watch this space!