A Retro-Inspired Split Flap Display Evokes 20th Century Nostalgia at the Imperial War Museum



Culture Under Attack, the Imperial War Museum’s newest season of exhibitions, live music, performances and interventions, explores how war threatens not only lives – but culture, too.


Comprised of three free exhibitions – What Remains, Art in Exile and Rebel Sounds – the new season spans 100 years and reveals why some try to erase or exploit culture, while others risk everything to protect, celebrate and rebuild it.


Imperial War Museum Split Flap_1
Imperial War Museum Split Flap_6

When designing Culture Under Attack, the museum’s design team knew that the key to powerful storytelling would be to engage visitors with the past in a contemporary way. To do that, they reached out to design firm Oat Foundry to build a custom, retro-inspired 4-by-24 Split Flap display to bring a unique sense of the past to life while prompting modern conversation in the present.

Imperial War Museum Split Flap_4
Imperial War Museum Split Flap_7



Positioned in the space between the three exhibitions, the Split Flap display acts as an introduction to the season and poses questions to engage visitors with exhibition content.


The Split Flap addresses issues like, ‘is it okay to destroy culture in order to win a war?’, ‘should historic buildings be protected in conflict zones?’ and ‘should art be saved during war?’, among many others.


The sound of the display’s individual flaps spinning creates a seductive effect – deeply connecting visitors with the matter at hand.

Complementing this installation, the Split Flap display motif has also been broadcast digitally within the three exhibitions’ response rooms– designated spaces placed at the end of each exhibition where visitors can ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ with the proposed questions, creating an entirely new level of engagement. Visitors can also see how their responses compare to others as well, inspiring discussion.

Imperial War Museum Split Flap_5


Learn about how an Oat Foundry Split Flap display can play a critical role in your art installation & reach out today.

Ready To Stand Out?

  Reach Out To Us