Cash grant for museum boxing champion exhibit

Curator Gillian Findlay in the museum's Earl Haig display room. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Curator Gillian Findlay in the museum's Earl Haig display room. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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AN exhibition with punch will this summer be showcasing a boxing legend’s prize belts after securing a large amount of funding.

The Museum of Edinburgh will stage an expo called Sporting Edinburgh – timed to coincide with the Commonwealth Games – which will include boxing belts won by city-born champion Ken Buchanan among other exciting items.

Later this year valuable medals and fragile objects about Edinburgh and the First World War will also be displayed at the attraction – following a cash grant award allowing all future exhibitions at the Royal Mile history spot to be ­significantly expanded.

With the £30,343, awarded by Museums and Galleries Scotland, the popular council-run attraction is planning to exhibit more high-value and delicate items than at present, thanks to new smash-proof, state-of-the-art display cases.

Gillian Findlay, senior curator with Edinburgh Museums and Galleries, said the latest award follows an £800,000 revamp of the museum, including a new red and yellow ­exterior, completed in 2012.

The grant will help pay not only for hi-tech display cases but also portable modular walls. “It sounds a bit like Star Trek,” said Ms Findlay. “But they will allow us to change the shape of the display space within the museum.

“Because the museum is grade A listed we are very restricted about what we can do with the fabric of the ­building, so we need these portable walls to do anything innovative or creative.”

She said the conservation-grade display cases meant humidity and temperature could be controlled, allowing even the most fragile items to be put on show without them ­being damaged.

She added that some of the museum’s silver collection had a high financial value and was therefore attractive to potential thieves.

“The smash-proof glass will stop people breaking into the display cases in any way. And start-of-the-art lighting inside the cases will exhibit items to the best possible advantage.” She added: “Because these cases allow us to display such a variety of material, that allows us to think about different sorts of exhibitions targeted at ­different audiences.”

City culture convener Councillor Richard Lewis said the cash for the museum – part of a £450,000 award across ­Scotland – was “great news”. He said: “The award clearly recognises the important ­contribution of the civic museums in Edinburgh. I am sure visitors to the Museum of Edinburgh will be delighted with the new look. It means we can now put on even more ambitious displays to further enhance the museum’s ­worldwide reputation.”

Heriot-Watt University also received £40,000 to remodel its entrance and East Lothian council £14,616 for new ­storage racking.