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Museum to create new galleries after £5m windfall

Ten new galleries at the national museum will be created with the aid of a lottery cash injection worth nearly £5 million.

FUNDING CYCLE: Inventions such as the world's first carbon-fibre monocoque bike can now go on display. Picture: Stewart Attwood
FUNDING CYCLE: Inventions such as the world's first carbon-fibre monocoque bike can now go on display. Picture: Stewart Attwood

The scientific collections of the National Museums of Scotland will be featured in the new galleries, which are being created in a £14.1m project after the major funding boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The £4.85m grant will help museum bosses realise plans for the Edinburgh galleries which will also include artefacts related to technology, art and design, and oriental cultures.

The displays are due to open to the public in 2016.

More than £10m of the cost of the project is now in place, including £900,000 from the Scottish Government.

This will be used to renovate the roof of the west wing of the Victorian building, where some of the new galleries will be located.

It is the third stage of an overall plan costing £80m which has revamped the National Museum complex in the capital, with its major second phase opening to the public in 2011.

The museum says the new displays will "explore the excitement and impact of scientific discovery and invention and the creativity of applied arts, fashion and design" .

They will "champion excellence and innovation - an inspiration for the scientists, engineers, artists and designers of today and tomorrow". Two further galleries are also planned - to present the museum's ancient Egyptian artefacts, as well as East Asian collections featuring items from the cultures of China, Japan and Korea.

These will be completed in 2018.

Exhibits in the ten new galleries will include Wedgwood plates designed by the Scottish pop artist Sir Eduardo Paolozzi and a coat designed by fashion designer Zandra Rhodes.

Also on show will be an early camera by William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the key pioneers of photography, and a prosthetic "i-limb" designed by Scottish firm Touch Bionics.

Another exhibit will be a necklace made by the leading Scottish jeweller Jessie King, which she designed for Liberty of London.

Jessie King was a leading jeweller and illustrator who studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1892 to 1899 and then taught there.

In total more than 3500 objects will be in the new displays, with exhibition space increased by more than 40%.

Many of the objects that will go in the new galleries have not been on ­permanent display for generations.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, director of National Museums Scotland, said: "It is terrific news that the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded funding for the next stage in our master-plan for the National Museum of Scotland.

"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."

Colin McLean, head of the ­Heritage Lottery Fund 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.

"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."

The National Museums of Scotland are now seeking money from individuals, trusts, and foundations to secure the rest of the cash needed for its plans.

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