Tuesday 3 June, 2014

National Museums Scotland is delighted to announce that the Heritage Lottery Fund has confirmed a grant of £4.85 million to help fund the implementation of the next stage of the Masterplan for the National Museum of Scotland.

The grant goes towards a £14.1 million project which will create ten new galleries displaying National Museums Scotland’s internationally important collections of Science and Technology and Art and Design. The new galleries will open in 2016. Confirmation of this major award means that over £10 million of funding is now in place for the project, including £900,000 from the Scottish Government to renew the roof of the west wing of the Victorian building, where some of the new galleries will be located. A fundraising campaign is underway to realise the remainder from private sources.

The innovative new galleries will explore the excitement and impact of scientific discovery and invention and the creativity of applied arts, fashion and design. They will champion excellence and innovation - an inspiration for the scientists, engineers, artists and designers of today and tomorrow. Showcasing over 3,500 objects, display space for these exhibits will increase by over 40%, with three-quarters of them not having previously been on permanent display for generations.

The development is the third stage of an ambitious £80 million Masterplan to restore the much loved Victorian building to its former grandeur, reveal the remarkable treasures of National Museums Scotland’s collections and create inspiring visitor experiences. The second phase was completed and opened to the public in the summer of 2011, presenting 16 new galleries exploring the Natural World and World Cultures. To date the transformed Museum has achieved national and international recognition with well over 5.5 million visitors crossing the threshold, making it the most visited attraction outside London for the past three years.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland commented,

“It is terrific news that the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded funding for the next stage in our Masterplan for the National Museum of Scotland. It will allow us to continue the transformation of this much-loved building, significantly enhancing what is already a world class museum for the benefit of visitors from the UK and internationally.” 

Six Wedgwood plates designed by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, a flamboyant coat by internationally renowned fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, an early camera by William Henry Fox Talbot, the father of photography, and a state of the art prosthetic i-limb designed by Scottish firm Touch Bionics are just a selection from the outstanding collections which will be displayed in the new galleries. 

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said, 

“The recent transformation of the National Museum of Scotland has been an unprecedented success. Modern galleries with engaging interpretation have encouraged millions through the doors to explore the cornucopia of artefacts that lie within. It has thrilled visitors and benefitted Edinburgh and Scotland’s tourism economy. Thanks to the National Lottery playing public, we are delighted to be able to support the next stage in the transformation of this much-loved museum.”

National Museums Scotland will now work with individuals, trusts, foundations and the corporate sector to secure the remaining funds to complete the current phase of this ambitious and important project.

National Museums Scotland has also confirmed outline plans to develop two further galleries at the National Museum, presenting its ancient Egyptian and East Asian collections. Both of these collections are internationally important and amongst the finest in the UK. 

A new Ancient Egypt gallery will explore the complexity and diversity of this fascinating culture. The East Asia gallery will highlight major themes in the region’s arts, culture and history, enabling visitors to encounter and be inspired by the richness, depth, and diversity of the culture of China, Japan and Korea. These two galleries are scheduled to be completed in 2018.

For further information and images please contact Susan Gray, Bruce Blacklaw or Ruth Mackie, Press Office, National Museums Scotland, tel 0131 247 4088 s.gray@nms.ac.uk.

For further informationon the Heritage Lottery Fund lease contact Shiona Mackay on 01786 870638/07779 142890 (shionamackay1@btinternet.com) or Jon Williams on 0207 591 6035 (jonw@hlf.org.uk).  Website www.hlf.org.uk.

Notes to Editors

1.    National Museums Scotland looks after museum collections of national and international importance and provides loans, partnerships, research and training in Scotland and internationally. Our individual museums are the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum.  The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh houses conservation and research facilities as well as collections not currently on display. 

2.    The National Museum of Scotland reopened in summer 2011 following a three-year, £50m redevelopment. With over 5.5 million visitors since reopening, the National Museum of Scotland is the most popular attraction in the country outside of London according to ALVA figures. It was also voted the number one museum in the UK, top ten in Europe and top twenty in the world in TripAdvisor’s inaugural Travellers’ Choice Awards.

3.    Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. Funding for the Bannockburn Centre was made by HLF’s Board who are responsible for awarding grants of over £2million to projects throughout the UK. Grant applications of under £2million are considered by HLF’s Committee for Scotland. To date HLF has invested over £611m in Scotland’s heritage. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, every aspect of Scotland’s heritage has benefitted.

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