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National Museums Scotland 2018 programme

Friday 15 December, 2017

National Museums Scotland 2018 Programme: Wildlife Photography, Scottish Pop Music and Glass Art.

National Museums Scotland 2018 Programme: Wildlife Photography, Scottish Pop Music and Glass Art

National Museums Scotland has revealed its exhibitions programme for 2018. The major programme will explore a diverse range of themes from pop music to poppies, wildlife photography to the art of glass. 

Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland said:

“Our exhibitions programme for 2018 is one of our most significant and varied to date. It ranges from photography and cutting-edge contemporary art to the story of Scottish pop music. It includes iconic objects loaned to us by Scottish musicians; newly commissioned artworks and significant objects from our own collections.
“In 2017, we have welcomed over two million visitors to the National Museum of Scotland for the first time in our 150-year history, and we are looking forward to another bumper year for National Museums Scotland in 2018.”

Two major shows headline the 2018 programme; the first displaying the very best wildlife photography from around the world and the second telling the story of Scottish pop music from the 1950s to the present day.

Taking over the Museum’s largest exhibition gallery for the first time, Wildlife Photographer of the Year presents 100 extraordinary photographs exploring the beauty, diversity and fragility of life on Earth. The most prestigious photography event of its kind in the world, for more than 50 years Wildlife Photographer of the Year has showcased the very best in nature photography from around the globe. On loan from the Natural History Museum in London, it features photographs displayed on large-format, backlit panels. Visitors can come face-to-face with some of nature’s most astonishing and challenging sights and learn how the photographers captured their award-winning images. The exhibition is supported by Players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Spanning a period from the 1950s to the present day, Rip it Up: The Story of Scottish Pop is the first major exhibition ever mounted on this topic. It will take in diverse movements from dancehall to the emergence of pop in an explosion of colour in the 60s, through the 70s and New Wave, from global stars right up to today’s outstanding newcomers.  The exhibition, supported by Baillie Gifford Investment Managers, features instruments, costumes and clothing, memorabilia, props, photographs and, of course, music as well as interviews and archive footage collated in partnership with BBC Scotland. Among the huge range of artists and bands featured in the exhibition will be Lonnie Donegan, Gerry Rafferty, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Lulu, The Rezillos, Midge Ure, Simple Minds, Garbage, Franz Ferdinand and Young Fathers. A three-part BBC TV series along with BBC digital and radio content will bring another dimension to the story through the voices of those who made the music, those who witnessed it from behind the scenes, and the fans who lived for it. 

Art of Glass explores the work of leading glass artists in Britain today. Presented in partnership with The National Centre for Craft & Design, this exhibition examines the diverse work of established and emerging glass artists working in the UK. Visitors can discover how artists are embracing the medium of glass in new and exciting ways, pushing the boundaries of techniques and challenging the perception of glass as merely a material for creating functional objects.

Embroidered Stories: Scottish Samplers showcases an extraordinary collection of Scottish samplers on loan from a private collector in the USA. Samplers are embroidered pictures which, in the 18th and 19th centuries, were made by children as part of their education. The collection has been researched over a number of years, with the identity of each of the makers being established through painstaking research across Scotland. The samplers include details of family, local towns, buildings and events, as well as religious verses and symbolic images, and provide a unique record of the lives of everyday people. Samplers are also touching personal records of children’s lives, made by hand in their formative years and recording the things most dear to them. The exhibition is an unparalleled opportunity to see this collection back in its home country.

Following its run at the National Museum of Scotland, Monkeys! A Primate Story will travel to Brussels then to Brisbane. The most comprehensive exhibition on primates ever, it features more than 60 spectacular new taxidermy specimens of monkeys, apes, lemurs, lorises and bush-babies. Fossil Hunters, currently showing in Stornoway until January, will travel on to Dumfries Museum. The exhibition explores how life on earth moved from water to land around 350 million years ago.

The Poppy: A Symbol of Remembrance at the National War Museum will coincide with the centenary of the conclusion of the First World War. It marks the culmination of National Museums Scotland’s commemorative programme of events and exhibitions relating to the conflict. It will explore the history behind the poppy and its emergence as a symbol of remembrance, the manufacture of poppies in Scotland, comparative international traditions and a reflection on recent debates about what some regard as the politicisation of the poppy as a symbol.

The programme of exhibitions is:




 National Museum of Scotland

Scotland’s Early Silver

Until 25 February 2018


Down to Earth

Until 1 April 2018


Modernist Jewellery

Until 15 July 2018


Wildlife Photographer of the Year

19 January  – 29 April 2018

Adults £8/£6, under 16s free

Art of Glass

6 April  – 16 September 2018


Hidden Gems: Scotland’s Agates

4 May – 2 September 2018


Rip it Up: The Story of Scottish Pop

22 June 2018 – 25 November 2018

Adults £10/£8, Child (12-15) £7 (under 12s free)

Embroidered Stories: Scottish Samplers

26 October 2018 – 21 April 2019


National War Museum

The Poppy: A Symbol of Remembrance

30 March 2018 – 27 January 2019

Price included in admission to Edinburgh Castle

 Touring exhibitions

Monkeys! A Primate Story

After opening at the National Museum of Scotland in 2016, this major exhibition is at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels until 26 August 2018 before opening at Queensland Museum in Brisbane on 12 October 2018.

Fossil Hunters

This exhibition will be at Museum nan Eilean (Uist & Barra) until 20 January 2018 before transferring to Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura from 23 February - 22 April 2018.

Supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery  Baillie Gifford Investment managers Glenmorangie

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