Ten major new galleries will open this month at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, following a £14.1 million redevelopment in its 150th anniversary year.
The new state-of-the-art galleries, dedicated to decorative art, design, fashion science and technology, will open on Friday 8 July as the latest phase in an £80 million masterplan to transform the museum and showcase the breadth of its world class collections.
The innovative new galleries, created in collaboration with Hoskins Architects and exhibition specialists Metaphor, encourage visitors to take a journey of discovery through 150 interactive exhibits – and with over 3,000 objects on display, three-quarters of which have not been shown for at least a generation – the new additions promise a brand-new experience.
The suite of six new Science and Technology galleries are the UK’s most comprehensive outside London, and feature objects covering over 250 years of enquiry and innovation, with highlights including one of the two oldest railway locomotives in the world; a two-tonne Copper Cavity from CERN’s Large Electron Positron Collider; three Formula 1 racing cars, including David Coulthard’s Red Bull team car; an Apple-1, one of the world’s first personal home computers; the world’s first pneumatic tyre, developed in Scotland by John Boyd Dunlop; Britain’s oldest motorcycle; one of John Logie Baird’s earliest televisions; as well as ground-breaking contemporary initiatives like the world’s first bionic arm and a mouse kidney grown from stem cells.
Major funding from Wellcome has enabled a new focus on biomedical science. The topics covered include the science of genetics with Dolly the sheep, the development of new pharmaceuticals and advances in prosthetics and body implants. Key objects include medals awarded to: Sir Alexander Fleming for the discovery of penicillin; Sir David Jack for developing asthma inhalers and Sir James Black for his invention of the first successful beta-blocker and modern anti-ulcer drug.
A dramatic atrium showcases a spectacular aerial squadron of iconic aircraft, including Percy Pilcher’s Hawk, the earliest British aircraft, and a 1940 Tiger Moth biplane.
Children and adults alike can enjoy memorable hands-on activities, including newly restored nineteenth-century working engineering models; a Formula 1 racing car simulator; working hot-air balloons; and a human-sized hamster wheel which visitors can drive to generate illuminating electricity…
The displays will be supported by an extensive new programme of activities and events providing deeper engagement with the science collections and scientific issues.
Treasures in the four new Art, Design and Fashion galleries showcase excellence, creativity and innovation. From precious medieval gothic treasures to the work of today’s leading names in contemporary craft, design and fashion they provide a broad and fascinating picture of British, European and international artistic achievement and enterprise. Highlights include pieces by Picasso; an ornate panelled wall from Hamilton Palace; the 17th century Kinghorne table carpet from Glamis Castle; rolls of hand-printed 19th century panoramic French wallpaper never before displayed; and the travelling-set of Princess Pauline Borghese, given to her by her brother the Emperor Napoleon.
A landmark new Fashion and Style gallery displays key items from National Museums Scotland’s world-class collection of fashion and textiles. Its dramatic presentation showcases clothing and accessories from the 17th century to the present day, with a central ‘catwalk’ celebrating significant designers like Vivienne Westwood, Paco Rabanne and Comme des Garçons. Highlights also include items from the celebrated Jean Muir collection – one of the largest fashion designer archives held by any museum in the world – as well as items from the wardrobe of Frances Farquharson, the 1930s Fashion Editor of Vogue, known for her flamboyant style.
This £14.1 million project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Wellcome and the Scottish Government, as well as other major trusts, foundations and nearly 800 generous individual donors.
HLF has recently announced its initial support for the next and final phase of the Museum’s Masterplan, with an award of a First Round Pass for a grant of £950,000. This £3million project will enable a further two new galleries to open in 2018, showcasing internationally important Ancient Egypt and East Asian collections.