2016 is shaping up to be a great year for National Museums Scotland.
Two major developments will see the unveiling of ten new galleries at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh in summer and, in spring, two redeveloped aircraft hangars will open at the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune, near Haddington.
Meanwhile, a packed programme of exhibitions explores diverse themes – from the secret world of primates in a major new family exhibition, Monkey Business, to the complex history of the peoples known as Celts, ground-breaking fossil discoveries and adventures in architecture with LEGOⓇ bricks.
“2016 is a hugely significant year for us,” said Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland,. “It is especially fitting that dramatic new displays of our collections of science and technology, decorative art, design and fashion will be unveiled during the Year of Innovation, Architecture, and Design.
“We are also looking forward to unveiling a transformed visitor experience at the National Museum of Flight – already one of Europe’s major aviation museums – which will showcase our outstanding collections in new and exciting ways.”
The £3.6 million project at the National Museum of Flight involves the restoration of two nationally significant Second World War hangars at the Museum. New displays will dramatically present an array of world class military, commercial and leisure aircraft, together with interactives, film programmes and stories of those who piloted or flew in the aircraft.
Build it! Adventures with LEGOⓇ Bricks is a series of events and activities taking place from 29 January to 17 April. On Wednesday and Fridays in February and March, visitors will have the chance to watch a large scale model of the National Museum of Scotland being built in the Grand Gallery, designed by the renowned ‘artist in LEGOⓇ bricks’, Warren Elsmore. During February half-term, families can help with an ambitious project to build one of the museum’s most iconic objects on a giant scale.
Fossil Hunters: Unearthing the Mystery of Life on Land, opening on 19 February 2016, will explore the transition of life from water to land 360-340 million years ago. The story of this transition can now be told using an internationally important collection of fossils from this period, recently discovered in Scotland. Fossil Hunters will also tell the story of the extensive scientific research and fieldwork behind these remarkable Scottish discoveries.
Celts will open on 10 March 2016 at the National Museum of Scotland. Organised with the British Museum and sponsored by Baillie Gifford, this is the first major British exhibition in 40 years to tell the story of the Celts.
Opening on 22 April 2016 at the National War Museum, Life Support: Stories from the Royal Regiment of Scotland marks the Regiment’s first decade of operations. The exhibition will offer a fresh perspective on the combat and peacekeeping work of Scotland’s infantry soldiers, as well as the people, military and civilian, who make up their vital support network at home and on the frontline.
From 2 December 2016, Monkey Business at the National Museum of Scotland will explore the world of primates, from the tiny mouse lemur to the mighty gorilla. It will feature more than 50 spectacular new taxidermy specimens created by National Museums’ specialists, and skeletons of monkeys, apes, lemurs and bushbabies alongside a host of interactives, film, models and photography.
The world famous Wildlife Photographer of the Year returns to the National Museum of Scotland on 16 September 2016 following its premiere at the Natural History Museum, London. From intimate portraits to layered motion stills, the award-winners offer startling visuals, compelling narratives, and a passion for the natural world.
For the full programme of National Museums Scotland events during 2016, including free exhibitions in the Grand Gallery, click here.