Walter Scott, climate change, Viking age treasures and typewriters to take centre stage at National Museum of Scotland in 2021

The 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott, efforts to tackle climate change in Scotland and overseas, a hoard of Viking-age treasures found beneath church land by a metal detectorist and the evolution of the typewriter over more than a century will take centre stage at Scotland’s most popular visitor attraction next year.

By Brian Ferguson
Thursday, 26th November 2020, 10:05 am
Updated Thursday, 26th November 2020, 5:11 pm
A sporran clasp of brass and steel with four concealed pistols is expected to go on display to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott.
A sporran clasp of brass and steel with four concealed pistols is expected to go on display to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott.

The National Museum of Scotland has unveiled plans for a new series of shows after being forced to call off all of its planned exhibitions this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The first major exhibition on the Galloway Hoard, which was due to be staged earlier this year, will instead showcase highlights of a treasure trove of more than 100 objects which law undisturbed for more than a thousands years between February and May in 2021.

The show, a version of which will go on tour after its run in Edinburgh, is expected to reveal some of the discoveries that have been made about the hoard of gold, silver and jewelled treasures, which include a rare gold ingot, a unique gold bird-shaped pin and a decorated silver-gilt vessel.

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These four silver 'ribbon bracelet' arm-rings will be showcased as part of the Galloway Hoard exhibition.

The Typewriter Revolution exhibition, which will run from May-September, will explore the social and technological impact of writing devices, including the Sholes & Glidden typewriter, the first to have a QWERTY keyboard, which was created in America in 1875.

The museum will mark 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott with a showcase of objects linked to the Edinburgh-born writer, poet, playwright and historian, who was of the most famous living Scotsman in the early 19th century.

Scotland’s Climate Challenge, which will run from September next year to the spring of 2022, is being staged to coincide with the COP26, the United Nations climate change conference being held in Glasgow next November.

The displays at the museum are expected to highlight evidence of the impact of climate change around Scotland and explore ways in which technology is being pioneered in Scotland to try to find solutions, including water,

The world's first commercially successful typewriter, manufactured by American company Scholes and Glidden, will be on display at the National Museum in 2021.

solar and wind power to geothermal and bioenergy.

The museum will also be opening a separate exhibition next autumn, Sea Change, which will show how Indigenous Australians and Pacific Islanders using plastic waste found on their lands and in the sea to highlight the climate crisis.

More than 100 striking images captured in 25 countries around the world will also be going on display as part of a showcase of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

Christopher Breward, director of National Museums Scotland, who took over the running of the attraction during its closure earlier this year, said: “Having successfully reopened our museums, it’s wonderful now to be able to announce an exciting programme of special exhibitions and displays for the year ahead.

The National Museum of Scotland will be staging two separate exhibition exploring the impact of cliimate change next year. Picture: Museum Volkenkunde

"The programme reflects the wonderful diversity of our collections and our work with several of the exhibitions covering important themes.

"The Galloway Hoard embodies one of our core strengths as the global centre for Scottish history and archaeology.

"It is important also for us as a national museum to engage with the challenges of climate change, a key issue for our times, and we do so directly in two exhibitions next year.”

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