Alexander Fleming’s Nobel Prize gold medal for the discovery of penicillin and a 12,300-year-old giant deer skeleton are among more than 8,000 treasures on show in Edinburgh with the unveiling of the National Museum of Scotland’s £47 million redevelopment.
The dramatic makeover has transformed one of Scotland’s oldest and best-loved museums to create 16 new galleries and public spaces, enabling some objects to be shown to the public for the first time in generations. Combining science, the Arts and humanities, the collection links the intellectual and scientific accomplishments of Scots across the world and reflects its own roots in the Scottish Enlightenment.
‘In most cities, you would have to go to at least three museums to see such a range,’ says museum director Dr Gordon Rintoul. Architect Gareth Hoskins has remodelled the listed Victorian building to create a new entrance, from which glass elevators rise to the spectacular atrium of the Grand Gallery, a balconied birdcage of iron and glass painted white and gold. The principal new attraction here is Window on the World, a giant four-storey installation. Other highlights created by exhibition designer Ralph Appelbaum include a wildlife panorama suspended in mid air.
* Subscribe to Country Life and up to £50