Scotland’s National Museum unveils final phase of dramatic transformation

Assistant conservator Lydia Messerschmidt views the mummy mask and wreath of Montsuef at the National Museum of Scotland
Assistant conservator Lydia Messerschmidt views the mummy mask and wreath of Montsuef at the National Museum of Scotland Neil Hanna/NMS
Three new galleries at the National Museum of Scotland opened to the public this week. It marks the completion of a 15-year, £80million redevelopment, creating one of the world’s finest museums.

Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the highly ambitious transformation has returned one of the finest Victorian buildings in Britain to its former glory, creating vibrant new public spaces and revealing its spectacular national collections, many of which had not previously been on display.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, Director of National Museums Scotland, said: “Over the past 15 years we have worked tirelessly to transform this wonderful building, to rediscover our extensive and outstanding collections and to create fresh and inspirational visitor experiences.

"The result is the creation of a world-class museum for the enjoyment of national and international visitors today and for many generations to come.”

New galleries

The new galleries explore the remarkable cultural heritage of ancient Egypt and East Asia and the diversity of ceramics. Over 1300 objects have been selected for the galleries, 40% of which go on display for the first time in generations.

Ancient Egypt Rediscovered, Exploring East Asia and the Art of Ceramics present internationally significant collections in compelling and inspiring ways.

A display at the Scottish National Museum
Assistant conservator Margot Murray cleans a statue of Weituo, the leading guardian of Buddhist faith and teachings

Acting head of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Scotland, Riona McMorrow, said: “The National Museum of Scotland is a museum of the people. Old and young have come together to wonder and delight at its mesmerising treasure trove of collections for over 150 years.

"Thanks to the people who play The National Lottery, we have been able to help fund its glorious transformation over the last 15 years. This dearly held museum is now world class, showcasing Scotland at its best while making a significant contribution to our culture, society and tourist economy."

National programme

The opening of the new galleries is supported by a national programme of activity to extend their reach and impact to partner museums across Scotland, by sharing collections, knowledge and expertise.