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Final phase of £80 million transformation unveiled at National Museum of Scotland

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Three new galleries at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh open to the public on 8 February, completing a 15-year, £80 million redevelopment.

The new galleries explore the remarkable cultural heritage of ancient Egypt and East Asia and the diversity of ceramics. Over 1,300 objects have been selected for the galleries, 40% of which go on display for the first time in generations. Ancient Egypt RediscoveredExploring East Asia and the Art of Ceramics present internationally significant collections in 'compelling and inspiring ways'. 

Three new galleries

  • The opening of Ancient Egypt Rediscovered coincides with the 200th anniversary of the first ancient Egyptian objects entering National Museums Scotland’s collections. The gallery explores how this civilisation has evolved across more than 4,000 years of history and outstanding objects include the only intact royal burial group outside of Egypt, the only double coffin ever discovered in Egypt and a decorative box of King Amenhotep II.
  • Exploring East Asia celebrates the dynamic cultures of China, Japan and Korea, showcasing their diverse traditions, peoples and histories. National Museums’ East Asia collections are among the most important in the UK and represent over a century and a half of continuous collecting. Highlights include a Chinese lacquerware rice measure from the Ming dynasty, samurai armour and a rare and important Korean lotus-shaped cup and stand from the thirteenth century. 
  • The Art of Ceramics unites themes from across the collections of National Museums Scotland. Ceramics is a highly versatile medium in art and science and the gallery celebrates the creativity and diversity reflected in pieces from across the world and over a broad time period, from the 19th century BC to the 21st century AD. Highlights include a 16th century Maiolica dish featuring a donkey playing a lute, an ancient Greek vase decorated with wrestlers dating to c. 475 - 450 BC, and a porcelain alcohol ewer from the Qing dynasty.

A historic moment

Bruce Minto, Chair of National Museums Scotland said: “This is a truly historic moment in the life of a great museum. The transformation of this iconic Victorian building on time and on budget is an achievement of which the nation can be rightly proud.

“Our outstanding collections help us to tell a vast range of diverse and fascinating stories from across the globe highlighting the many Scots involved in invention, innovation and discovery. These stories have engaged our many supporters who have given generously to help us achieve our ambitions and to whom I am extremely grateful.”

Read an in-depth curator review of the galleries in the March/April issue of History Scotland

 

(images copyright National Museums Scotland)

 

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