Thompson’s Hut – Historical Sign Project

About This Project

Puke Ariki wanted to tell the story of a bygone era using a 1920’s split slab hut which had been recovered from Tahora.

Thomspon’s Hut is now home collection of artifacts from the 1920’s and 30’s, and the story is told through a series of signs and graphics produced by our team.


Outside the hut is the intro panel, hanging on an old sign frame that needed to look like it had also been recovered with the hut, timber construction, aged, hand painted (legible, but not too perfect. A sign like this would likely have been made by the person living in the hut).  We used treated pine to construct the sign frame and steel and chain for the hardware which we left outside in water to rust, before sealing with a flat clear spray paint. We designed a clever little post bracket which is rebated into the back of the post to attach to the floor.


The hut is positioned next to a electrical board in the museum which needed to remain accessible, so we constructed a this lightbox on a track that could be slid behind the hut to reveal the board. A photograph of an old room was printed on the lightbox to give the impression of another room through the slightly open door.


Another item worth noting are the fabric object labels which we treated with a polyester dye, and then printed using a dye sublimation process. We then applied additional heat to the labels to discolour and iron in some creases to help make the labels look old.


So many other techniques were used in creating this space. Here is a summary:

  • Wall graphics printed on textured wallpaper to look like old newspapers (newspapers were used to line the insides of drawers and cupboards)
  • Printed vinyl wrapped sign panels
  • Calico labels printed using dye sublimation.
  • Display cases and lightboxes with laser cut faces (drawers)
  • Photographic image lightbox on sliding rail system.
  • Hand painted graphics on hand made wooden frame.


We are super passionate about history, and absolutely love working with all our Museum clients.

Custom Field

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Display, Signs