About Querceus Design

Querceus is a design company with wide experience within the museum and visitor centre world with award-winning projects to its name. We have a long pedigree in heritage interpretation.

Our particular strengths include embracing the challenge of working sensitively within historic buildings. We have all the relevant contacts and associations needed to co-ordinate a diverse team of professionals.

Flexible Approach

Unlike the bigger design outfits, we pride ourselves on being less ‘corporate’. Our flexible approach enables us to maximise control of costs and design, whilst offering the client as much for their budget as possible, together with a personal service.

We view every project as unique. We believe that the key to a successful project for the client is partnership working. Our role is to listen, advise, develop and co-ordinate. In this way we ensure that the interpretation process meets everyone’s requirements.

Highest Standards of Quality

Our ethos is to deliver information in an imaginative and enjoyable way. We seek to engage audiences and enthuse them, whilst maintaining rigorous standards of academic integrity and employing the highest standards of quality in the presentation.

Michael Oakenfull established Querceus Design in 1998

Michael Oakenfull

Michael’s career spans a number of disciplines including architectural studies, graphic design, illustration, feasibility consultancy and in particular museum and exhibition design, a subject which he has also taught as a part-time senior lecturer at The University of Lincoln, on the BA (Hons) course in Museum and Exhibition Design. His knowledge and experience of the industry go back to the early 1980s and has provided the basis for his own company, Querceus Design, set up in 1998.

Michael gained a first-class BA (Hons) degree in Graphic Design and a Commendation in History of Art from Leicester Polytechnic and Hull College of Art (now part of the University of Lincoln) and soon after graduating became a designer and visualiser for the well known publisher Dorling Kindersley in Covent Garden, London. Following a stint as a freelance illustrator and designer, working on various projects for museums and clients such as the National Trust, the National Gallery and the Royal Academy, Michael went on to acquire a PGCE in Art education at the University of South Wales, Cardiff. Thereafter followed a return to education, spending over a year in a Northampton school teaching Art & Design and the History of Art at A level, followed by studying part-time for a PhD on the influence of Classical architecture on agrarian buildings in the East Midlands at the University of Hull. The latter was undertaken while also working for English Heritage on the Re-Survey of listed buildings in North Yorkshire and working on further freelance projects.

In 1987 Michael joined Heritage Projects in York, not long after the Jorvik Viking Centre was launched to international acclaim. He worked as a project designer and in all areas of practical and conceptual design, particularly on feasibility schemes. Projects included The British Pavilion, Columbus; Foreign & Commonwealth Office exhibition in Genoa, Italy; a 19th Century Drift Mine reconstruction, underground at the Black Country Museum and ‘A Day at the Wells’, Royal Tunbridge Wells (a walk through life in Society at a fashionable Spa in the 1740s).

He stayed with Heritage Projects until 1991 when he went freelance, as well as lecturing on the BA (Hons) course in Museum and Exhibition Design at Humberside Polytechnic (later University of Lincoln). He has since worked on a range of museum and heritage-based projects, initially on the design of all the buildings and displays in the Historic Quay, Hartlepool and design of the new museum also at Hartlepool.

Other projects include the Lady Victoria Colliery at the Scottish Mining Museum (voted by the Scottish Tourist Board as one of their ‘Five Star Attractions’); the Back to Back houses Project for the National Trust, Birmingham (which won a clutch of awards including an Interpret Britain Award and Europa Nostra Diploma 2006); Hampton Court Palace - 2 permanent exhibitions; Navigation House, Sleaford, Lincolnshire; Ayscoughfee Hall, Spalding, Lincolnshire; Gibraltar Point Visitor Centre, the Lincolnshire Coast; Tamworth Castle, Staffordshire ; Wythall Transport Museum, West Midlands; Lower Brockhampton Estate, Herefordshire; the ‘Secret Hills’ Discovery Centre in Shropshire; Darlington Railway Museum and Plymouth City Art Gallery and Museum. In recent years he has also worked on a number of projects with The National Trust.

In addition Miichael has an extensive track record in consultancy and has produced concept designs, feasibiltiy studies, content development and master planning for a range of heritage schemes, many of which were successful in assisting clients to acquire project funding, including Whisby Nature Park, Lincoln; the Lady Victoria Colliery at the Scottish Mining Museum (winning £5m of funding, of which the interpretation was worth £1m); the Back to Back houses Project for the National Trust, Birmingham; the Scottish Railway Collection for the Bo’ness Development Trust; ‘Magna’ Templeborough Steel mills, Rotherham; and Manchester Museum of Science & Industry.

Michael is a full Member of The Chartered Society of Designers. He has been a member of The Georgian Group for many years and is a member of the Museums Association.


  • Renaissance East Midlands awards - Exhibition of the Year 2008
  • Renaissance East Midlands Awards - Museum of the Year 2007
  • Winner of Best Practice in Regeneration - Europa Nostra Diploma 2006
  • BURA (British Urban Regeneration Association) Award 2005
  • 2 Interpret Britain Awards 2005
  • Gulbenkian Museum of the Year, shortlist 2005
  • British Archaeological Heritage in Britain Award 2004
  • Heritage Railway Association Annual Award 2004
  • Interpret Britain Awards 2000 and 1996
  • 5 Star Attraction, Scottish Tourist Board 1999
  • Best New Visitor Attraction, English Tourist Board, 1996
  • Favourite Children's Visit 1995, Museums and Galleries Award
  • Museum of the Year Award, 1996, Highly Commended
  • England for Excellence Award, English Tourist Board, 1995, 1996