Friday 27 November, 2015

National Museums Scotland has revealed its exhibitions programme for 2016.

Two major developments will see ten new galleries unveiled at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh next summer and, in spring, two redeveloped aircraft hangars will open at the National Museum of Flight in East Fortune. 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.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland, said:

"2016 is a hugely significant year for us. 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."

In summer 2016, ten new galleries will open at the National Museum of Scotland. Following a £14.1 million redevelopment, these will showcase over 3000 objects from National Museums Scotland’s internationally important collections of science and technology, decorative art, design and fashion. A large proportion of the objects will not have been seen in public for generations, if at all. The new galleries will open in the 150th anniversary year of the opening of the original Victorian building in 1866. Exhibits will range from Dolly the sheep to a Picasso glass sculpture, a 2.5-tonne copper cavity from CERN to shoes by Alexander McQueen.

Two redeveloped hangars at the National Museum of Flight will be unveiled in spring 2016. The £3.6 million project 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 with interactives, film programmes and stories of those who piloted or flew in the aircraft.

Celts will open on 10 March 2016 at the National Museum of Scotland. This dramatic exhibition will tell the story of the different peoples who we call ‘Celts’ through the stunning objects they made, including intricately decorated jewellery, highly stylised objects of religious devotion. The exhibition also explores the enduring legacy of the ‘Celts’ in the decorative arts of the late 19th century. 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. It will showcase rare objects on loan from 12 international lenders and 14 UK institutions.

Opening on 2 December 2016, Monkey Business is a major, family-friendly exhibition which explores 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. Visitors can discover how different primates move and communicate, how they’ve developed tools to get hold of food and their complex social systems. It will also examine the relationship between humans and primates, including the ways in which many species are threatened with extinction through the impact of habitat loss and hunting.

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, a gigantic evolutionary step without which humans would not exist today. The story of this transition has remained a mystery but can now be told using an internationally important collection of fossils from this period, recently discovered in Scotland. These offer a unique insight into a complete ecosystem which existed millions of years ago. Fossil Hunters will also tell the story of the extensive scientific research and fieldwork behind these remarkable Scottish discoveries.

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.

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. The programme of events will be supported by a small display of Warren’s creations; model buildings, vehicles and other objects made with LEGO bricks. Build It! Adventures with LEGO Bricks is part of the Festival of Architecture 2016, which will celebrate Scotland’s fantastic built environment, as a key part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design celebrations.

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. 

A series of free exhibitions in the Grand Gallery will continue throughout the year on topics ranging from prehistoric alpine jade to twentieth century modernist jewellery. Details of these will be published next year.

The full programme of exhibitions is:

Exhibition

Dates

Admission

National Museum of Scotland

The Silversmith’s Art: Made in Britain Today

18 September 2015 –

4 January 2016

Free

Child’s Play

25 September 2015 – 10 January 2016

Free

New to the National Collections

23 October 2015 – 28 February 2016

Free

Build it! Adventures with LEGO Bricks

29 January – 17 April 2016

Free

Fossil Hunters: Unearthing the Mystery of Life on Land

19 February – 14 August 2016

Free

Celts

10 March – 25 September 2016

Adults £10/£8, Child £6.50 (under 12s free), Members free

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

16 September 2016 – 8 January 2017

Free

Monkey Business

2 December 2016 – 23 April 2017

Adults £10/£8, Child (5-15) £7 (under 5s free), Family of 3 £23, Family of 4 £28, Members free

 

 National War Museum

Helmand Return

27 Feb 2015 – 27 Mar 2016

Price included in admission to Edinburgh Castle

Life Support: Stories from the Royal Regiment of Scotland

22 April 2016 – 29 Jan 2017

Price included in admission to Edinburgh Castle

 

Touring Exhibitions

Next of Kin

Touring Scotland as part of the First World War Centenary programme.

Reflections on Celts

Touring the UK in support of the Celts exhibition.

Notes to Editors

  1.  To sign up for our fortnightly bulletin listing events and exhibitions at National Museums Scotland please email media@nms.ac.uk        
  2. National Museums Scotland looks after museum collections of national and international importance and 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.
  3. The National Museum of Scotland reopened in summer 2011 following a three-year, £50m redevelopment. With nearly 8 million visitors since reopening, the National Museum of Scotland is the most popular UK attraction in the country outside of London (source: Association of Leading Visitor Attractions).In 2016, ten new galleries will open at the museum in a project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Wellcome Trust, a number of other Trusts and Foundations, individual donors and the Scottish Government.
  4. The National Museum of Flight is located 30 minutes from Edinburgh at East Fortune, East Lothian. The National Museum of Flight is located on the UK’s best-preserved Second World War airfield and is home to one of the best aviation collections in Europe. In 2016, two renovated Second World War hangars will reopen following a £3.6 million project, including a grant of £1.3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £1.8 million from the Scottish Government.
  5. The Silversmith’s Art: Made in BritainToday is created by The Goldsmith’s Company.
  6. Helmand Return is created by Robert Wilson, curated by Catherine Collins and Rhiannon Adam, and loaned by Gallery One and a Half.
  7. Celts is organised with the British Museum and sponsored by Baillie Gifford.
  8. Reflections on Celts is organised with the British Museum and supported by the Dorset Foundation.
  9. The research showcased in Fossil Hunters is part of a major research grant funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Research has been conducted in partnership with the Universities of Cambridge, Southampton and Leicester as well as the British Geological Survey.
  10. Life Support: Behind the Royal Regiment of Scotland is created in association with the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
  11.  About The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design:
    • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity beginning on 1 January 2016 and ending on 31 December 2016.
    • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
    • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.