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For forty years two superpowers and their allies took the world back and forth from the brink of catastrophe in a nuclear stand-off that pervaded everyday life for billions. Three decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall, our collaborative project ‘Materialising the Cold War’ explores how this conflict is represented in museums.

World War heritage is well established, but what about the long conflict afterwards that in Europe never turned 'hot'?

With a major grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, National Museums Scotland is working with the University of Stirling and other museums in the UK and elsewhere in Europe to explore collections and displays, from military hardware to art and design, and to evaluate visitor responses.

The main project will commence in October 2021 for three years, during which we will host events, school programmes, and a major exhibition, as well as producing digital and print publications for a range of audiences. Whether nuclear bombers or peace badges, we ask, how does the Cold War feature in museums?

Please find more details about the project here and send any enquiries about this project to Marianne Spence,

Coloured image of a round cardboard sliderule described as a Nuclear Weapons Effects Computer

A Nuclear weapon effects computer made from cardboard c.1960s (T.2011.71)

Historical documentary record of the first manned space-orbit flight by Major Yuri Gagarin, 1961. (T.1967.125)

The English Electric Lightning aircraft at the National Museum of Flight.

Header image: Avro Vulcan XM597 at the National Museum of Flight, East Fortune.

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English Electric Lightning

The Lightning was the first supersonic jet fighter in the Royal Air Force.

Avro Vulcan B.2A

See the world's first delta winged bomber on display at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune Airfield.

History of East Fortune

East Fortune Airfield is the UK's best-preserved Second World War airfield. Discover its history from its beginnings in the First World War to its transformation to a national museum.

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Marianne Spence

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