Our Immerse Visual and Audio Experience

Reading Time 1 minute and 20 seconds
Date 22 October 2021

The use of colourful graphics, which physically divide the Museum’s space, as well as sound effects, are just a few of the ways we immerse visitors into Livingstone’s life and experiences.

Each of the first-floor exhibition spaces display 4-metre-tall graphics, which cut the space - turning a series of rectangular rooms into a winding path for visitors to follow. Using full colour versions of paintings by Thomas Baines, storekeeper and artist who later accompanied Livingstone on the Zambezi Expedition, the first gallery space tells the story of the Trans-Africa Expedition.

The full height graphics are intended to ‘WOW’ the audience, giving a flavour of the landscapes, plants and animals that awed Livingstone during his successful coast-to-coast expedition.

The ambient audio in the space (a combination of lion roars, hippo grunts, elephant trumpeting, and birds squawking) is intended to represent the wildlife that Livingstone encountered and studied during this journey.

As we venture onto Livingstone’s Zambezi Expedition, the colour pallet changes. The blue graphics of this area show simple illustrations, sourced from books both by and about Livingstone.

The blue reflects the story that is told: how a promising expedition along the Zambezi River soon turned sour and ended in death and disaster. It was in this region that Livingstone saw first-hand the harrowing impact of the East African Slave Trade.

The audio here reflects the sinister buzzing of the mosquitos that lurked along the riverbanks and added to the lethal failure that was Livingstone’s second expedition.

As the Nile expedition draws to a close, Livingstone makes the ultimate sacrifice and dies on his knees, after refusing to give up on his expedition and return home.

Graphic designer Margot Lombaert worked with the David Livingstone Birthplace team to realise the original design concept for these areas, developed by museum’s designers Event Communications.

The photographs of Baines’s oil paintings were licensed by the Kew Gardens, the Royal Geographical Society and the Mary Evans Picture Library. The illustrations displayed came from the Museum’s collection and were photographed by the Photographic Unit of the University of Glasgow.

Herd of Buffalo opposite Garden Island, Victoria Falls
Herd of Buffalo opposite Garden Island, Victoria Falls by Thomas Baines © Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
Victoria Falls, Zambesi River from West End of the Chasm (with rainbow)
Victoria Falls, Zambesi River from West End of the Chasm (with rainbow) by Thomas Baines © Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
The Victoria Falls, by Thomas Baines © Mary Evans Picture Library
The Victoria Falls, by Thomas Baines © Mary Evans Picture Library.
The Black Rhinoceros Charging, by Thomas Baines © Mary Evans Picture Library.

Also see more postings at in the David Livingstone Birthplace Project Blog.

A pandanus with figures to illustrate the scale of the tree
Featured in the Trans-Africa gallery: A Pandanus with Figures to Illustrate the Scale of the Tree, Zambia. © The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (CC BY-NC).
Landscape with Figures and a Baobab Tree (Adansonia Digitata), Zambia
Featured in the Trans-Africa gallery: Landscape with Figures and a Baobab Tree (Adansonia Digitata), Zambia © The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (CC BY-NC).
Featured in the Zambezi Expedition gallery: Bird's Eye View of the Great Cataracts of the Zambesi
Featured in the Zambezi Expedition gallery: Bird's Eye View of the Great Cataracts of the Zambesi, from Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and its Tributaries by David and Charles Livingstone.
Mock-up of the design by Event Communications, realised by Margot Lombaert for the David Livingstone Birthplace
Mock-up of the design by Event Communications, realised by Margot Lombaert.



We are very grateful to our key funders the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and the Scottish Government for their support in helping us deliver the Birthplace Project.

National Lottery Heritage Fund
Scottish Government
Historic Environment Scotland
Note: Please note that David Livingstone Birthplace (and the David Livingstone Trust) is no longer part of National Trust Scotland (NTS). NTS members will therefore no longer receive discounted/free entry to the Birthplace Museum.

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