Lottery’s £5m boosts national museum space

Gordon Rintoul welcomed the funding. Picture: IAN RUTHERFORD
Gordon Rintoul welcomed the funding. Picture: IAN RUTHERFORD
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MUSEUM chiefs are set to launch the next stage of a major overhaul after landing nearly £5 million in fresh lottery funding.

The £4.85m cash injection from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will be ploughed into a £14.1m project aimed at creating ten galleries at the National Museum of Scotland (NMS).

They will display the Chambers Street museum’s internationally renowned collections of science and technology, as well as precious art and design artefacts.

With more than 3500 objects to be showcased, total space for these exhibits – many of which have not been on permanent display for generations – will increase by more than 40 per cent.

Bosses at the museum want to open the galleries in 2016 and more than £10m of funding is now in place, including £900,000 from the Scottish Government to renew the roof of the museum’s west wing.

The development is the third stage of an ambitious £80m masterplan to restore the Victorian building to its former grandeur and reveal unseen treasures to the public.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, NMS director, said: “It is terrific news that the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded funding for the next stage in our 
masterplan.

“It will allow us to continue the transformation of this much-loved building, significantly enhancing what is already a world-class museum for the benefit of visitors from the UK and internationally.”

The new galleries will explore the impact of key scientific discoveries and landmark works in the applied arts, fashion and design.

They will also champion excellence and innovation, with NMS bosses hoping they inspire scientists, engineers, artists and designers now and into the future.

The revamp’s second phase was completed and opened to the public in summer 2011, presenting 16 new galleries which explore nature and world cultures.

HLF chiefs said they were delighted to support the project’s latest phase.
Colin McLean, head of HLF in Scotland, said: “The recent transformation of the National Museum of Scotland has been an unprecedented success.

“Modern galleries with engaging interpretation have encouraged millions through the doors to explore the cornucopia of artefacts that lie within. It has thrilled visitors and benefitted Edinburgh and Scotland’s tourism economy.”

He added: “Thanks to the National Lottery playing public, we are delighted to be able to support the next stage in the transformation of this much-loved museum.”