Opening Date Announced For New National Museum of Scotland Galleries

A preview of the new Enterprise, Science and Technology Galleries.

The ten new galleries at the National Museum of Scotland will open on July 8, 2016, halfway through the 150th anniversary year of the Victorian building.

The announcement of the opening date heralds a five month countdown during which time National Museums Scotland staff will install over 3,000 objects into four galleries of decorative art, fashion and design and six galleries of science and technology.

“We are now in the final phase of work as we progress towards opening our new galleries on  July 8,” said Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland. “From Dunlop’s first pneumatic tyre to cutting edge scientific discoveries from CERN, the fashion of Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, Dolly the Sheep and Picasso ceramics – we have something to appeal to everyone.”

The £14.1 million project has expanded the floor space available for the new public galleries by 40%, as well as enabling extensive refurbishment of the glass roofs and the restoration of original archways, other architectural features and sightlines.

“Completion of the construction phase was a significant milestone in the project to create these new galleries,continueing our work to restore the Victorian grandeur of the building whilst at the same time creating dramatic, engaging and cutting edge displays for a 21st century audience.” added Dr Rintoul.

The New Galleries

  • Revealing the nature of scientific enquiry, from the human body to the fundamental components of the universe, the Enquire gallery will include a 2-tonne copper cavity from CERN, and the Nobel Prize medal awarded to Professor James Black, discoverer of beta-blockers and the first anti-ulcer drugs.
  • From fossil fuels to nuclear, wind and wave energy, Energise will explore different sources of energy and how scientific and technological developments might transform how we generate, distribute and consume energy in future.
  • How engineers and designers work to innovate in areas from huge engineering projects to transport, communications, consumer products and even our own bodies will be examined in Technology by Design.
  • The evolution of information and communication technology, from landmark developments like the telephone to the communication networks and the interconnected world in which we now live, is explored in Communicate.
  • Making It will explore the use of machines in manufacturing, from the industrial revolution through to automation, robotics and 3D printing.
  • At ground level, the interactive Explore gallery will display key icons such as Dolly the Sheep, the Black Knight rocket and the Bolton-Watt engine, while, overhead, five aircraft soaring through the air will provide a spectacular new display.
  • Fashion and Style will put the Museum’s extensive fashion and textiles collections on display for the very first time and will feature the work of a host of famous names, including Bernat Klein, Jean Muir, Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen.
  • Spanning the period from the 13th to the mid-19th century, Art of Living will contain many of the Museum’s greatest earlier works of art. Examples include recent acquisitions such as the Hamilton-Rothschild Tazza, a de Lucci baroque table and the Spencer House sofa, as well as a spectacular panelled wall from Hamilton Palace.
  • Design evolution from 1850 to the present day will be explored in Design for Living, with displays illustrating the impact of new techniques and technologies.
  • Making and Creating will present the techniques and creative inspirations behind artisan works, including ways in which contemporary makers are innovating with advanced technologies and finding new approaches to traditional ways of working. Examples range from the work of Picasso to Eduardo Paolozzi and a host of contemporary pieces.

Join IN

Alongside the announcement of the opening date, National Museums Scotland launched the crucial last phase of its fundraising appeal for the new galleries.

“The National Museum of Scotland, situated in the heart of Edinburgh, is a place which connects Scotland to the world and the world to Scotland through stories captured in thousands of remarkable objects,” said Alexander McCall Smith, Patron and long-term supporter of National Museums Scotland. “It’s a place which has inspired me and, with the help and generosity of the public, can inspire many more people in years to come.

“This fundraising appeal is the last vital step towards the realisation of a vision which will see ten new galleries brought to life. “