Ten galleries. Infinite possibilities. From Alexander Graham Bell to Zandra Rhodes, this year we’ll showcase the very best of our internationally important collections in decorative art, design, fashion, science and technology. We will champion excellence and innovation – an inspiration for the scientists, engineers, artists and designers of today and tomorrow.
Our new galleries will open on Friday 8 July 2016.
More than 3,000 objects will fill four Art and Design galleries and six Science and Technology galleries. Many of these haven’t been on display in a generation.
Take a trip to our Art of Living gallery to sup wine from the astronomical Hamilton-Rothschild Tazza and take tea with the Emperor Napoleon’s tea service. You can also measure up against the Hamilton Palace fireplace wall. Restored to its former glory, this stateroom was saved from the grandest non-royal residence in Europe.
Art lovers will find much to delight in our Making and Creating gallery, including a rare artist’s proof by Picasso. Capra was designed in 1954. Worked in iridescent, black and white glass, it represents a small goat resting on the grass.
Art doesn’t just belong in galleries though, so wander on through to Design for Living and get acquainted with May Morris’ intricate embroideries. Created to hang in Orkney’s Melsetter House, these wall hangings are a beautiful example of the Arts and Crafts movement.
In our Fashion and Style gallery, walk your own catwalk and spot gems by Vivienne Westwood, Zandra Rhodes, Jean Muir and Pringle of Scotland.
Thanks to a grant of £1.3 million from the Wellcome Trust, our Science and Technology galleries will reveal the secrets of biomedical science. How about the first cloned mammal in history? That should do it. Visit our Explore gallery to gaze upon Dolly the Sheep. She’s a science superstar and one of our most iconic objects.
Fall down the rabbit hole in Enquire with a 1930s Pedoscope. This x-ray machine was used in shoe shops in the early twentieth century, marketed as a surefire way to guarantee your shiny new patent shoes fitted properly. But spare a thought for the shopworkers exposed daily to fatal radiation…
Or follow in the steps of pioneers with the Enigma machine, the oldest pitch drop experiment in the world and a giant copper accelerating cavity from CERN’s LEP collider. After all, who doesn’t like a dash of drama with their science history?
How do you get more than 3,500 objects ready for display in ten brand new galleries?
Discover the secrets of our treasures with Making the Museum. This is the tale of how our curators and conservators applied stitches to a porcelain Meissen lion, gave Percy Pilcher’s Hawk its wings once more, and uncovered surprising stories along the way.
Across the new science and technology galleries, real objects and engaging interpretation will tell inspiring stories about scientists, technologists and engineers including those with Scottish connections, past and present.
Wellcome funding will help create a Scottish centre for scientific engagement, inspiring visitors through Scotland’s world-class collections of science and technology and making the Museum a major hub for science communication and dialogue.
The topics covered will include the science of genetics (where Dolly the sheep will be a focal point), the development of new pharmaceuticals (including the work of Scottish Nobel Prize winning scientist Sir James Black to develop Beta Blockers and other medicines) and advances in prosthetics and body implants. A key element of the displays will be contemporary developments, with a strong focus on encouraging debate and discussion.
You can find out more about the award from the Wellcome Trust here.
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.
Please note some galleries are currently closed to make way for the development.
We also plan to develop two further galleries at the National Museum, to present our 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.
To make way for the redesign and transformation of the existing spaces, the following galleries are now closed and their objects decanted into storage: Looking East, European Styles, Shaping our World, Ancient Egypt, Connect, Communicate and Art and Industry.
The Research Library will remain open as usual during the project, but visitors wishing to use the service should make an appointment beforehand. Email email@example.com or call 0131 247 4137 to make an appointment.