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2016 Archive: Heritage Lottery Fund Awards £950,000 for the National Museum of Scotland

Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced its initial support for the next phase of the Masterplan to transform the National Museum of Scotland.

Heritage Lottery Fund Awards £950,000 for the National Museum of Scotland

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced its initial support for the next phase of the Masterplan to transform the National Museum of Scotland. The award of a First Round Pass* for a grant of £950,000 towards this major £3 million project will enable National Museums Scotland to create two new galleries to open in 2018. The two galleries will showcase internationally important Ancient Egypt and East Asian collections.

This project will be the fourth and final phase of a 15 year Masterplan designed to transform the National Museum of Scotland. Phase by phase the Masterplan is restoring one of the UK’s finest Victorian buildings, revealing remarkable treasures, and creating inspiring learning experiences to engage yet more visitors.

Examples of the outstanding collections that will be displayed in the new galleries include: the Qurna burial, the only intact royal burial group outside of Egypt; a statue dedicated to King Snefru, who built the first true pyramid; a bodhisattva in gilt bronze from 15th to 17th century China, and a Japanese woodblock print from 1861, which is one of 4,000 owned by National Museums Scotland.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland, commented,

“We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded funding for the final stage of our Masterplan for the National Museum of Scotland. This grant will enable us to create two exciting new galleries in which to showcase our outstanding collections of Egyptian and East Asian material. Importantly the funding also allows us to create an ambitious programme of work right throughout Scotland, sharing collections, knowledge and skills across the breadth of the country.

Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:

“As the most popular museum in the country outside London, the National Museum is of paramount importance to the country’s tourist economy. HLF is extremely proud to have been a partner since the museum began its transformation and delighted that, thanks to players of the National Lottery, we can give our initial support to this last piece of the jigsaw. As a modern, engaging and fascinating place to visit, these two new galleries will attract even more visitors through the doors to marvel at Scotland’s national collection.”

This announcement comes as National Museums Scotland confirmed it had reached the fundraising target of £14.1 million to complete the third and current phase of the Masterplan. This phase sees ten new galleries of decorative art, fashion, design, science and technology opening to the public on 8 July. The fundraising campaign has been a huge success, and concluded with a £100,000 public campaign led by famous author Alexander McCall Smith. This inspired over 650 donors to give to the campaign, meeting its target well ahead of opening. The project has now been funded in full, thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Scottish Government, the Wellcome Trust, other significant charitable trusts and foundations, as well as many individual Members and supporters who are vital partners in this redevelopment. Together their generosity has made the development possible.

The transformation so far of the National Museum of Scotland has achieved national and international recognition. In the five years since opening the second phase of development in 2011, the Museum has welcomed over 8.5 million visits - from Scotland, the UK and internationally.

The final phase of the Masterplan will create two new galleries: Ancient Egypt Rediscovered and Exploring East Asia. These will display material from some of the most important civilisations in human history through artefacts that are amongst the finest of their kind. While the Egyptian gallery will show many previously unseen treasures from the national collections, the East Asia gallery will explore China, Japan and Korea with a host of important, beautiful and thought provoking objects. The galleries will invite visitors to reinterpret the familiar and explore the unknown. They will include a range of innovative digital experiences and be supported by an extensive learning programme, deepening engagement for students and visitors of all ages.

In conjunction with the two new galleries, an extensive national programme is being developed to increase access to the collections across Scotland. These will provide a range of activities, loans and outreach activity to extend knowledge of these fascinating collections beyond the walls of the Museum, to local communities across the country.

National Museums Scotland will work with individuals, trusts, foundations and the corporate sector to secure the remaining funds to complete the next phase of this ambitious and important project. The galleries will open in late 2018, when the Masterplan will then be complete.

Further information and images from Susan Gray, Press Office, National Museums Scotland on 0131 247 4088 or email

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 four 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 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 8.5 million visitors since reopening, the National Museum of Scotland is the most popular museum in the country outside of London according to ALVA figures.
  3. *A first-round pass means the project meets the Heritage Lottery Fund criteria for funding and we believe it has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals. However, a first-round pass does not guarantee the applicant will receive a grant although the chances of receiving a grant are high. The second-round application will still be in competition for funding, and no money is set aside at this stage. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals.
  4. From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) use National Lottery players' money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. @heritagelottery. For further information please contact Shiona Mackay on 01786 870638/07779 142890 ( or Jon Williams on 0207 591 6035 (
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