The British Empire & Commonwealth Museum
The British Empire & Commonwealth Museum

Tel: +44 (0)117 925 4980

Fax: +44 (0)117 925 4983

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Breaking the Chains
Serving Empire

Serving Empire
A travelling exhibition by The British Empire & Commonwealth Museum

Serving Empire is a travelling exhibition about the people who administered the former British colonial territories around the world. They were members of the Colonial Service (Her Majesty’s Overseas Civil Service), which came to an end in 1997.

British Survey Camp, Malaysia 1901 Pupils at Kaduna Capital School Northern Nigeria circa 1950s Game Rescue, Kariba Dam, 1960

The many departments of the Service included agriculture, forestry, fisheries, geology, veterinary services, education and training, medicine and public health services, transport and communications, and the organising of elections leading up to Independence.

The exhibition uses fascinating photographs, film and oral history to show what life was like in the Colonial Service. This unique material, much of it donated by former members of the Colonial Service, tells the human stories behind the history. What was it like to be the only doctor for thousands of miles? How did local people react to a mobile library? What were the experiences of the first surveyors and mapmakers?

The exhibition opens at The Victory Services Club in London on 28th May 2008. After this date the exhibition will be available free for hire.

The exhibition is suitable for medium or small-scale venues.

Double sided, free standing graphic panels Two oral history listening points Graphic panels with intergrated film screen
Double sided, free standing graphic panels Graphic panels with integrated film screen Two oral history listening points

Dimensions and power requirements

The exhibition is easy to assemble and arrives in custom-built cases with written instructions.

It comprises ten double-sided graphic panels, one of which has a built in screen for the film. The Exhibition panels fully open take up an area approximately 3.7 metres wide x 1 metre deep. The film screen in the end panel plugs into a regular 13amp socket.

A free standing bench houses the oral history audio element of the exhibition, with headphones provided. It measures 1600 x 500mm and requires a 13amp socket.

Hiring the exhibition

The exhibition is FREE to hire.

The hirer must meet the transport and insurance costs of the exhibition.

The Empire Museum can arrange transport and charge costs to the hirer, or the venue can make their own arrangements.

The Exhibition should be insured to a value of £25,000.

If you are interested in hiring this exhibition contact Learning Department at The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum at Clock Tower Yard, Temple Meads, Bristol BS1 6QH, telephone 0117 925 4980 ext 226: email:

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Station Approach, Temple Meads, Bristol, BS1 6QH

Tel: +44 (0)117 925 4980

Fax: +44 (0)117 925 4849

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