The new state-of-the art research, access and storage facility at the National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh was unveiled on June 24 by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Europe, Culture and External Affairs.
The new building, which houses nearly ten million objects, will enable material from National Museums Scotland’s Scottish History, Archaeology and Natural Sciences collections to be preserved in optimal conditions, safeguarding their long term future and allowing a greater level of access to the national collections, particularly for research purposes.
The ten million objects range in size from a beetle measuring less than a millimetre (the Nephanes Titan beetle), to the 5.2 metre-long skull of a sperm whale. The oldest object is a 4.5 billion year-old meteorite, the heaviest a Roman tombstone found at Carberry, East Lothian in the late 1990s which weighs over 360 kilograms.
‘World class facilities for researchers’
“It’s great to view first-hand the excellent facilities now available at the National Museum Collections Centre,” said Culture Secretary Fiona Hylsop. “The Scottish Government has provided nearly £12 million of funding for this project, which underpins the continual development of the facilities at Chambers Street and will allow National Museums Scotland to preserve its valuable collections for the future and provide world class facilities for researchers.”
Bruce Minto, Chair of the Board of Trustees of National Museums Scotland, added: “The National Museum of Scotland is the most popular museum in the UK outside London and is about to be enhanced still further by the addition of ten new galleries next year.
“It is extremely important that the collections which are not on public display but which have enormous significance are kept in such a way that assures their good condition in perpetuity and which is properly organised and accessible.”
Allowing collections to be set out for research, viewing and examination
The new three-storey building includes dedicated work benches, allowing collections to be set out for research, viewing and examination, as well as areas with dedicated environments for vulnerable objects. In addition, a huge programme of sorting and ordering collections prior to and during the move means they are better organised and more accessible.
The National Museum Collections Centre site also houses science and technology, world cultures, fashion and textiles, decorative art and design and transport collections, as well as conservation and research laboratories. It is open to researchers by appointment, and the new building will be open to visitors on Doors Open Day this year (booking essential).