Surprises in store for culture vultures across Scotland

Tuesday 31, May 2011


Surprises in store for culture vultures across Scotland


From major new museums to the return of iconic galleries, Scotland is at the centre of a cultural revolution this year with by a surprising number f new offerings.


June sees the opening of the Palace at Stirling Castle, followed by the launch of Zaha Hadid’s striking new Riverside Museum in Glasgow.  In July, the National Museum of Scotland, one of the country’s favourite museums will open its doors after a massive refurbishment with Scotland’s oldest public museum, The Hunterian Museum, reopening hot on its heels in September.  In the North of Scotland, Shetland’s brand new Mareel will be the UK's most northerly music, cinema and creative industries centre and is due to open this winter.  November will mark the last major project in what will have been a massive year for the arts in Scotland, with the Scottish National Portrait Gallery opening after a closure of two .


Stirling Castle Palace, Stirling - reopens 4 June:  The castle is one of Scotland’s most iconic and historically significant buildings with links to the likes of William Wallace and Mary, Queen of Scots.  This £12 million project will return the six ground floor apartments in the castle’s Renaissance palace to how they may have looked in the mid-16th century.  The work has already uncovered fascinating historical finds and insights into this period of history, including the remains of what may have been a 15th century knight killed in battle and buried beneath the floor of a previously unknown royal chapel.  Tickets are already on sale for the opening weekend, which promises to be a particularly special time to visit with a calendar of events taking place.


Riverside Museum, Glasgow - opens 21 June:  This is the starchitect, Zaha Hadid’s first major public commission in the UK and the characteristically bold, flowing shapes of the building are already winning fans.  The collections, incorporating the existing Museum of Transport as well as other pieces from Glasgow City Council’s massive stores, are to be presented in a particularly dynamic way.  One of the current Museum of Transport’s most popular exhibits has long been “Kelvin Street”, a series of shop fronts in a re-created 1930s street.  At the new Riverside Museum, there will be three such streets, from 1890 into the 1980s and for the first time visitors will have access to shops on the street and a staged metro system.  The museum is right on the River Clyde and the tall ship, The Glenlee, has now been moored next to it.  This £74 million project is likely to be one of the biggest cultural openings in Britain this year.


The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh - opens 29 July:  This massively popular museum will reopen after a £46 million refurbishment with a new layout.  This will enable much greater access to the collections, improved access and visitor experience, as well as a greater appreciation of the iconic Victorian building. 


The Hunterian Museum, Glasgow - reopens September: Scotland’s oldest public museum is reopening after major refurbishment and will feature a new permanent gallery devoted to the Romans in Scotland.  The Roman gallery is a new permanent exhibition which presents the unique collection of monumental sculpture and other Roman artefacts recovered from the Antonine Wall, illustrating life on the edge of the Roman Empire 2000 years ago.  Many items will be on display for the first time.  Also in September, a major exhibition will be mounted dedicated to Scottish artist J. D. Fergusson, a key member of the internationally renowned Scottish Colourists.


Mareel, Shetland - opens late 2011: This brand new development will be the UK's most northerly music, cinema and creative industries centre.  Situated in a prominent quayside area (Hays Docks) in Lerwick next to the new and award-winning Shetland Museum and Archives, Mareel will have two cinema screens, a live performance auditorium, rehearsal rooms, a recording studio, education and training spaces, a digital media production suite and a cafe bar.  With a programme of events, it’s likely to be a major centre for the creative arts in the area. 


The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh - opens 30 November:  St Andrews Day will mark the opening of this popular gallery after a closure of two years.  It has been massively upgraded and redeveloped, aiming to restore and reveal much more of the building than ever before and to show many more works of art, and introducing a new, regularly changing display programme.


For more information on these new openings and great offers to help you plan your visit to Scotland visit



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