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Lottery support to complete the National Museum of Scotland Masterplan

Tuesday 3 October, 2017

National Museums Scotland is delighted to announce that The National Lottery has confirmed a grant of £1,071,900 towards the fourth and final stage of the Masterplan to transform the National Museum of Scotland.

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National Museums Scotland is delighted to announce that The National Lottery has confirmed a grant of £1,071,900 towards the fourth and final stage of the Masterplan to transform the National Museum of Scotland.

The grant supports a £3.3 million project which will create two new galleries displaying National Museums Scotland’s internationally important collections of Ancient Egyptian and East Asian material, together with a programme of activities across Scotland. Confirmation of this major award means that £2.3 million of funding is now in place for the project, and a campaign is underway to secure the final £1 million from private sources.

The new galleries will explore the remarkable cultural heritage of Ancient Egypt and East Asia. Showcasing over 1200 objects, 40% of which have never been on display in over a generation, the galleries will be created in spaces within the National Museum which have previously not been accessible to the public. They are due to open in early 2019.

The development is the final 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 third phase was completed on time and on budget, opening to the public in the summer of last year, presenting ten award-winning new galleries of science and technology, decorative art, fashion and design. The transformed Museum is internationally acclaimed, welcoming 1.8 million visitors annually, making it the top most visited museum outside London. It is a must see attraction for residents and international tourists and since re-opening in 2011 in excess of 11 million visitors have flocked through the doors.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland said,

“We are delighted that The National Lottery has confirmed this funding which will help enable us to complete our ambitious 15 year Masterplan to redevelop the Victorian National Museum of Scotland. In addition to creating two new galleries to showcase our world-class collections of Ancient Egyptian and East Asian material, we will also develop an extensive National Programme, extending the reach and the impact of these collections across Scotland.”

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

“As the most visited attraction in Scotland, 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 remarkable transformation and delighted that, thanks to players of the National Lottery, we are supporting this last piece of the jigsaw. This grand museum is a modern, engaging and fascinating place to visit and the redevelopment of these final two galleries will undoubtedly attract even more visitors to marvel at Scotland’s national collection.”

The Ancient Egypt Rediscovered gallery will present the remarkable culture and achievements of the ancient Egyptians, highlighting individual stories to give a sense of their values and personal lives. The displays will showcase the depth and breadth of National Museums’ Ancient Egypt material which is the result of over 150 years of collecting.

National Museums Scotland has one of the most significant East Asia collections in the United Kingdom, representing the three major cultures of the region: China, Japan, and Korea. The Exploring East Asia gallery will present a unique perspective on East Asia, enabling visitors to explore and contrast the diverse traditions, peoples and histories of these three fascinating and dynamic cultures.

The new galleries will display a wide range of outstanding items including: the Qurna burial, the only intact royal burial group outside of Egypt;  a gold ring which belonged to Queen Nefertiti; a unique double coffin of two half-brothers, Petamun and Penhorpabik,; a Chinese lacquerware rice measure from the Ming dynasty; a Japanese  woodblock print of the celebrated Kabuki actor, Ichikawa Ebizo V; and a rare and important early survival Korean lotus-shaped cup and stand from the thirteenth century.

The development will be supported by a major National Programme to extend the reach and impact of the new galleries to partner museums, sharing collections, knowledge and expertise across Scotland. The programme will deliver a touring exhibition with learning and digital resources, loans and a programme of training and skills development for museum and community partners.

The Discovering Ancient Egypt touring exhibition will tour to three museums across Scotland with the capacity to incorporate locally held collections into it.

Specialist training opportunities will be provided for the museum sector in Scotland including curatorial assessment of relevant collections, display skills, production of learning and digital resources, audience engagement and evaluation techniques.

National Museums will also work with partner museums to develop and deliver schools’ workshops and community activity.

Further information and images from: Susan Gray, Alice Wyllie, or Bruce Blacklaw, National Museums Scotland Press Office on 0131 247 4088 or

Funding raised by The National Lottery Heritage Lottery Funded

Notes to editors

  1. National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in the UK and Europe and it looks after collections of national and international importance. The organisation 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.
  1. The National Museum of Scotland is the most popular museum in the country outside of London (source: Association of Leading Visitor Attractions). The National Museum of Scotland was awarded ‘Gold’ Level Green Tourism Visitor Attraction status in 2016.
  1. 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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