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.