The eight-year project was driven by the National Galleries of Scotland’s commitment to improve their facilities so that existing and new audiences can engage with Scottish art. Visitors can enter the free and accessible galleries from the new main entrance on Princes Street Gardens.
Overcoming hurdles for more inclusive spaces
The transformation process presented challenges including working above busy rail tunnels and beneath an A-listed building. Undocumented asbestos was also discovered during construction.
However, the project doubled the physical display space which has resulted in brighter rooms and increased capacity. Large windows offer spectacular views over the city and invite visitors to come in and discover the work of Scottish artists such as William McTaggart, Anne Redpath, Phoebe Anna Traquair, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Boys.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund Gallery marks one of the new exhibition rooms. It features the renowned painting Monarch of the Glen (Sir Edwin Landseer, 1851) which was bought for the nation with the support of the heritage fund in 2017.
Scotland’s community at the heart
The National Galleries of Scotland are also invested in engaging the Scottish public with the national collection. An activity programme has and continues to engage schools across England, social groups for older people experiencing loneliness in Edinburgh and youth groups in the Borders.
The new Scottish galleries at the National are now open to the public.