Mammoths, Ming and First World War Centenary lead the 2014 exhibitions programme at National Museums Scotland.

National Museums Scotland has revealed its exhibitions programme for 2014.

Exhibitions and events explore a diverse range of themes, from giant mammoths to the treasures of the Ming dynasty, and from spectacular photography of the animal kingdom to the innovative mind of Scottish mathematician John Napier. A four-year commemorative programme marking the centenary of the First World War will also begin in 2014.

Headlining the calendar of exhibitions are two major shows at the National Museum of Scotland that explore the great beasts of the Ice Age and the extraordinary story of the Ming dynasty.

Opening on 24 January, Mammoths of the Ice Age reveals what life was like for the iconic mammals of this era; the mammoth and the mastodon. An extensive collection of Ice Age objects will be brought together for the first time in the UK, from some of the oldest human art in existence to woolly mammoth hair, preserved mammoth dung and a replica of Lyuba, the 40,000-year old baby mammoth. Found in 2007 in the frozen wastes of Russia, she is the best-preserved mammoth ever discovered.

At its only UK venue, Ming: The Golden Empire will open on 27 June and introduce the remarkable achievements of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) which was marked by a dramatic flourishing of the arts. From iconic blue and white porcelain to sumptuous silk textiles, gold and jades, rare examples of elaborately enamelled cloisonné, and detailed calligraphy, a collection of original Ming artefacts, including many Chinese National Treasures, will be on display.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland, said:

“Our programme for 2014 is truly world class. I am delighted we are presenting such a significant series of international exhibitions as we continue to tell compelling stories, share this country’s fabulous national collections and bring major shows to Scotland.”

Two exhibitions at the National War Museum and the National Museum of Scotland will mark the centenary of the First World War.

Next of Kin will open at the National War Museum on 18 April. Reflecting how families coped with the absence and loss of their loved ones, and kept objects as a way of remembering, the exhibition will present a portrait of Scotland at war. Next of Kin will be on display for a year before touring around Scotland until 2017.

Common Cause: Commonwealth Scots and the Great War, at the National Museum of Scotland from 11 July, will explore the complex relationship between Scottish identity and the emerging national identities of the former British Empire. In 1914, as the world prepared for war, thousands of men enlisted in Scotland. But thousands more Scots and those of Scottish descent joined up across the world.

Spring sees the launch of three further exhibitions at the National Museum of Scotland.

Wildlife Photographer of the Yearopens on 17 March. From a polar bear lurking under icy water to a beautiful sunrise in the Namibian desert, and a male and female jaguar captured in the throes of a fierce fight, one hundred striking photographs will offer a remarkable glimpse of the diversity and beauty of the natural world.

Opening on 28 March, Power of Ten: Inventing Logarithms explores the work of Scottish scholar John Napier (1550-1617) and the major impact his innovations have had. With a reputation for mathematics, divinity and black magic, Napier devised logarithms - a method for replacing long multiplication with simple addition. This dramatic innovation fundamentally advanced mathematics, science and engineering, enabling more calculations to be completed in an hour than had previously been completed in one day.

Scotland Creates opens at the National Museum of Scotland on 9 May, supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Creative Scotland. It is the culmination of a year-long project during which young people have taken inspiration from National Museums’ world-class science and technology, and art and design collections. Having curated their own exhibitions across Scotland at partner museums, the final results will now be displayed.

This autumn, exhibitions at the National Museum of Scotland reveal the rich cultures of Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and the Punjab.

Opening 10 October, the exceptional life of the last Sikh ruler of the Punjab, Maharaja Duleep Singh(working title), will be examined through his exquisite jewellery and personal objects. Singh (1838-1893), ascended to the throne at early age but was forced to leave the Punjab in 1854 after the country was annexed by the East India Company. In exile, Singh was the first Sikh to settle in Britain. He became one of Queen Victoria’s favourites, living the life of an aristocrat first in Castle Menzies, Perthshire, and later in Elveden, Suffolk.

Wrapped in Wealth (working title) will explore the art and culture of a fascinating area of the Pacific region. The exhibition will highlight trading links between Fiji, Samoa and Tonga and showcase National Museums’ major Fijian collections from colonial times to the present day, revealing stories of island life and cross-cultural encounters between Scots and Fijians. Wrapped in Wealth opens on 20 November.

The full programme of exhibitions is:

Exhibition

Dates

Admission

National Museum of Scotland

Kabuki

Until 2 February 2014

Free

Hunting the Higgs boson

Until 16 February 2014

Free

Creative Spirit: Revealing Early Medieval Scotland

Until 23 February 2014

Free

Mammoths of the Ice Age

24 January – 20 Apr 2014

Adult £9

Concession £7.50

Child (5-15) £6 (under 5s free)

Family (2 adults, 2 children) £25

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

17 March – 1 June 2014

Free

Power of Ten: Inventing Logarithms

28 March – 6 July 2014

Free

Ming: The Golden Empire

27 June – 19 Oct 2014

Adult £10

Concession £8

Child (12-15) £6 (under 12s free)

Common Cause: Commonwealth Scots and the Great War

11 Jul – 12 Oct 2014

Free

Scotland Creates

9 May – 31 August 2014

Free

Maharaja Duleep Singh (working title)

10 October – January 2015

Free

Wrapped in Wealth (working title)

20 Nov 2014 – 29 Mar 2015

Free

National War Museum

Arctic Convoys

Until 13 March 2014

Price included in admission to Edinburgh Castle

Next of Kin

18 April 2014 – Mar 2015

Price included in admission to Edinburgh Castle

Notes to Editors

  • To sign up for our fortnightly bulletin listing events and exhibitions at National Museums Scotland please email media@nms.ac.uk

  • 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.

  • The National Museum of Scotland reopened in summer 2011 following a three-year, £47m redevelopment. Since then it has been awarded the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Award for the number one museum in the UK, 6th in Europe and 18th in the world. It has entered the top ten most popular UK visitor attractions (ALVA), becoming the most popular attraction in the country outside of London. In 2012, with nearly 1.9 million visitors, the Museum entered the top 20 most popular art museums and galleries in the world (The Art Newspaper).

  • Mammoths of the Ice Age was created by The Field Museum, Chicago.

  • Ming: The Golden Empire is produced by Nomad Exhibitions in association with Nanjing Museum, China, and is supported by investment managers Baillie Gifford.

  • Creative Spirit: Revealing Early Medieval Scotland is supported by The Glenmorangie Company.

  • Further information and images from Ruth Mackie or Bruce Blacklaw, Press Office, tel 0131 247 4288 or emailr.mackie@nms.ac.uk.   
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