National Museum of Scotland completes £80m masterplan

Simon Stephens, 08.02.2019
Three new galleries mark end of 15-year project
Today’s opening of three galleries at the National Museum of Scotland marks the completion of a 15-year, £80m redevelopment that has transformed the Edinburgh venue.

The new spaces, which cost £3.6m to create, are Ancient Egypt Rediscovered, Exploring East Asia and the Art of Ceramics. The National Lottery Heritage Fund gave £1.17m towards the project, with charitable trusts, foundations and other private sources providing the rest.

Gordon Rintoul, the director of National Museums Scotland (NMS), said that the 15-year redevelopment had been led by the needs of visitors.

“Right at the beginning we involved audiences in what we were doing,” Rintoul said. “We spent a lot of time talking to visitors and those that did not visit and that audience engagement has continued right through the project.”

Rintoul, who joined NMS in 2002, said the project has also returned the venue to its Victorian roots as a museum of the world.

Nearly 2.2 million people visited the National Museum of Scotland in 2018.

ZMMA was the exhibition designer for the three new galleries, the fit-out was by Beck Interiors, and the architect was Smith Scott Mullan Associates.

In addition to the National Museum of Scotland, NMS runs three other museums: the National War Museum in Edinburgh;the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian; and the National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride.