Scotland's Treasures Full BBC Documentary 2016Jun 20, 2021
inside this building there are
treasuresfrom all corners of the world some are very small some are very big are very old some are very new some are valuable others are priceless together they form one of the largest collections in europe there is enthusiasm for presenteeism from an object that you actually have the opportunity to see and be in its presence that is actually unique but the national museum of
scotlandis more than a place to come and see the world for 150 years it has been a place of important complex scientific research historical detective work and painstaking preservation to understand Scotland one has to understand the past and this building is where the past is preserved now for the first time we will go behind the scenes of one of Britain's busiest museums from its darkest shops to your newest galleries.
We will see how the objects are acquired, cared for and exhibited and we will get a unique look at the greatest
treasuresof the museum accompanied by those who work with them and I am inspired by them the museum for me represents adventure emotion amazing miraculous fantastic things dozens of galleries more than 12 million of objects this is the inside story of the museum treasures that bring the world to
scotlandand scotland to the world the national museum of scotland is the most visited museum in the uk outside london and one of the most diverse well this museum is unique, no other national museum anywhere else can see such a wide variety of material, all in one place, from the natural world to discoveries in science and technology, art and design, and materials from cultures around the world, all under one Same roof, but after a century and a half at the heart of Scotland's cultural life, things looked frayed, the old building not
fully rebuilt for many decades probably really since it was first built nor have we told some of the stories behind the collections and the way the public wants to hear them the result is an £80m redevelopment 10 new galleries with more to come all
fullof objects hidden for decades we had items that were in storage for a century never seen by the public so we put a lot of items back on display and really what we wanted to do was reimagine the museum for today.
Reimagining the museum means taking a closer look at each treasure, and no treasure is too old or too beloved to re-examine its own history. The Lewis chess pieces were hidden on the west coast of Lewis. In the 12th century, but these figures are more than just pieces of an ancient board game, they are relics of an empire that stretched from Norway to Greenland and from Ireland to the Western Isles, writer and broadcaster Muriel Gray used to work in the museum, all my heart. and the soul is sewn in this place i love every cell of his recent work by muriel's former colleague david caldwell is challenging what we think we know about chessmen david this is very exciting obviously i should have to declare an interest and admit that you and I handle these years.
Do you remember the Scottish medieval exhibition? It was in 1982, only a few years ago, but honestly we are here, we are very very young we are very young we are very beautiful and my heart kind of misses seeing them again so close this treasure consists of 93 playing pieces mostly chess pieces in their day they would have been a potent symbol of wealth and taste when you return to the saga accounts in the Scandinavian world. It is clear that playing games was one of the attributes of greatness. You know you killed a lot of people. You went, you raped and you looted. the table, but another great attribute was that it was good to play, but historians have long treated the chess piece's connection to Lewis as accidental, assuming that a passing trader had mistakenly left them there, how come what something so sophisticated? isticado would have been somewhere we previously thought would be so bleak lewis was in a horribly remote place and not the kind of place you'd expect to find treasure, so the conclusion immediately drawn was that they didn't belong on this, must be a mistake, david disagrees, claims that lewis was a much more important place than historians have traditionally believed that lewis was an important part of a separate scandinavian kingdom, the island kingdom , and one of the main things about the kingdom of the islands was that, um, it produced warriors the way other societies produce sheep and cows, so you're dealing with a warrior aristocracy that had money with kings who owe it to them. legions to the kings of norway and bishops who owe allegiance to the trondheim-based archbishops david believes the chess pieces may have belonged to one of these wealthy warriors there was a man m uy important in the western world at the time called angus who lived on the island of lewis angus is basically recorded as a viking he was one of the leaders of the great scandinavian invasion fleet in 1263 and as a term of praise describing how he inherited his ivory chess pieces from his father donald oh now when you got when you got evidence like that why would you want to make up some kind of story about a dealer who abandoned them because of mistakes and they won't ever pick them up again? it's so exciting it's so exciting because it makes us reevaluate all that landscape with that particular kind of historical landscape and think again about our culture chess was a game played by important people initially in india and then in the middle east the changing layout of the pieces reflected the changing societies in which the game was played and this is what makes the lewis chess piece particularly interesting what we're looking at here we're looking at kings we're looking at queens basically for the first time and bishops because in earlier versions as well of the game, you had viziers, you had elephants in your chariots, and in many ways that reflects the nature of a Scandinavian society, but it is their faces that seem to suggest everyday emotions, from boredom to worry to fear, that makes that chess pieces are so attractive to modern eyes. why she got all the queens to have their certificates in their hands and i think there is a very good explanation for it because these are not um young sexy uh queens these i think are more like uh queen mothers these are older statesmen and queens that's how they were very important in Scandinavian society, so it reflects the society of the time.
The most fearsome and famous piece is the berserker. It's the berserkers that have really captured a lot of the public imagination because it's kind of scary. Absolutely unique. Yes, now there was a cult. in the Scandinavian world of guys who got so psyched up before going into battle that they were taking magic mushrooms or something and were so excited they had to bite down on their shields to hold back. It's been over 800 years since the chess pieces came to Lewis, but only now are we beginning to really question their significance and how they fit into Scottish and European history.
I mean these. they are tiny puzzles beautifully carved little puzzles and it may be generations before we find out the truth of their origin and their creator is exciting we were able to ask them questions a few years ago we have come up with suggestions our suggestions may not last uh forever but at least i hope we have started a process where other people come and ask more questions and asking questions about the objects on display is what the museum staff do every day the cadbull stone hilton is a pictish monument from the 9th century may be one of the best early christian artwork in scotland the key is this figure leading a hunt is it a princess or is this jesus bringing a new religion to the people the accepted meaning of each An ancient treasure can change from generation to generation and may never be know the true meaning of some, like the figure of Balahlish, is she a goddess who protects the roots of the sea or a fertility symbol?
We know that this figure is two thousand five hundred years old. Making it one of the earliest depictions of human life in Scotland, but many items in the collection are much older than Scotland and some raise big questions about life on Earth. One of the reasons meteorites are so interesting is that they can tell us so many things. about our own planet that we can't see ourselves the meteors we usually see on earth stem from the asteroid belt that exists between mars and jupiter they eventually collide with other asteroids and that causes them to be blown out of the belt and if you will , in the main part of the solar system, this meteorite traveled nearly 200 million kilometers to get here now, this meeting night fell in december 1917 and spread across an area roughly in the vicinity of the blair and cooper angus gallery the piece we have here has become famous for being the one that fell through the roof of a house the strathmore meteorite bears the scars of its journey through space on this surface you can see it is actually relatively smooth and black but while which on this surface is actually a bit rougher what happens is when the meteorite goes in and heats up the weak spots on the surface will be removed if you you want with the heat and these will form these little dimples. or something are called fingerprints because of their age.
Meteors represent a snapshot of the early solar system before planets like ours formed. By examining meteorites, we can actually tell a lot not only about the beaches themselves, but also a little bit about the land, for what it is. much more like the primitive material that the early solar system would have formed from, but couldn't grow into a full-scale planet like Earth, so in a sense they were dealing with really pristine solar system parent material the museum also has a younger meteorite just 1.3 billion years old this meteorite is one of the first confirmed visitors to earth from mars this particular meteorite fell in 1911 it is said to have hit a dog in and landed in nakhla which is in the Nile Delta, and the dog landed according to a local tale to be instantly vaporized.
The destructive potential of meteorites is well known, but some scientists believe that meteorites may have been responsible for bringing the building blocks of life itself to earth billions of years ago, certainly there is a classification I call carbonaceous chondrites and, as the name suggests it contains a fairly high content of organic material carbon based material life on earth may have been sparked by this incoming mass of organic material from space providing as the building blocks for life not only for the earth but for life how life began on earth is a big question how life flourished shed here's another one the department of natural sciences is one of the most research-intensive parts of the museum it's their job to ask and answer these big questions these collections are the world's natural heritage is here if you want to start finding out things about past life about environmental change over periods of time you have to look at these collections animals known as lizzie and ribble were born and died millions of years apart represent one of evolution's greatest mysteries 360 million years ago vertebrates animals with no backbone existed on earth 15 million years later they asked the question is what happened between 360 million years ago and 345 and for a long time paleontologist so well somewhere in the world there has to be something that is going to tell us a story stanwood era a self-taught paleontologist who thought the rocks that formed scotland might hold the secret stan had already found lizzie in east kirkton in 2008 went out to churnside in the borders dan wood had that special eye for fossils he came across this site just south of churn side is actually in the river he went in there looking for fossils and rocks underneath and pulled things out and then he started finding these bones and co He began to see limb bones and thought that these are these four-legged animals that lived at this time.
See how among those 360 to see 45 million years ago here was on the borders one of the fossils found. era ribble is called river because of these fantastic ribs big robust ribs that are curved so what it tells us is that here is an animal with a fairly robust thorax to protect good well developed lungs and that is one of the prerequisites for living on earth being able to breathe oxygen from the air and as far as we can see they only have five digits five toes five fingers so this is kind of the basic body plan for all those animals with backbones that they live on land today than they actually are on the earth's surface, so that kind of fossil tinwood transition died in 2012, but work on churnside continues to be led by museum staff and includes scientists from around the world, so the national museum of scotland is just part of this larger community and is vitally important i think to our understanding of the worldAround Us At the museum a lot of work goes into understanding the world around us and much of that work takes place here at the national collection center in granton this is where over 99 of the museums store 12 million items objects are studied, preserved and repaired.
Granton is the beating heart of the museum's vast and largely invisible collection, like this cochineal, it has been perfectly preserved in amber, allowing scientists to study it in privacy. important specimens like this, known as types, when scientists are describing new species, they should refer to the type specimen they have access to this type of material critical to international research is the property of science normally a museum with limited material has to publish their kind of stock and make them available to any scientist who wants access to them some of these remarkable bird specimens are hundreds of years old but they are all made available to researchers this here is a kelly capper due to the age of those collected in the 1820s they are all a bit more fragile than the main collection skins so they are usually kept separate but if someone specifically needs access to them they would get access they should last more or less indefinitely i mean they we have material from the late 1700s that is in mint condition along with the inse cts and birds are larger mammals well moby is an adult male sperm whale and we were very interested in collecting his skeleton because we did not have a complete skeleton of the sperm well in the collection in 1997 moby was stranded on the force estuary when efforts to rescue him failed museum staff were called in to save his remains it was a huge task and it took us about six days with six different people to cut up the meat and then we brought the bones back to this site and then we've got these big stainless steel tanks that were basically used i mean they're almost like big chinese washing machines we can put the bones in there and in the past we've used bio detergent but today we use other techniques in death moby it's become not just a popular object on display, but an important scientific resource when a whale or dolphin goes aground.
First of all, a lot of samples are taken to look at things like diet by looking at what's in the stomach and when we have the bones we can also look at various diseases like arthritis or abscesses that may be there. The museum has half a million vertebrates. In Granton, from the smallest fish to dolphins, poor balances and whales, it is one of the world's largest collections of marine mammals, so vast that even today, museum staff are still unlocking its secrets. my favorite citation specimen is actually quite old, it was a beluga. whale skull I found in a box and it didn't seem to have any information and when I looked at it I actually traced it back to a very old beluga specimen that had been swimming up and down the first or fourth in 1815 and it was bothering all salmon fishermen so they shot it and this specimen was thought to be completely lost but in fact it was on our shelves the whole time so that was great. in order to rediscover that and it's not just the marine mammals under the microscope at Grantin, researchers are studying everything from great apes to roadkill, we collected a large number of specimens from both wild populations and natural victims and also from zoos, so it is a wide variety of species. so they will be primates they will be carnivores they will be antelopes deer everything you can imagine last week we had a black leopard come in and we didn't get a chance to see it we are still collaborating with the university of vienna to look at the structure and function of the box larynx of voice in a wide range of mammals and the leopard is the last one we need to look at so we'll keep the ribcage and head intact after we've skinned it so it can be CT scanned an MRI so we can see this anatomy in detail this type of research will not stay in edinburgh or even the uk it will travel the world connecting the museum with academic and scientific centers around the world people think of places like this as a shop but this is not a store, this is an environmental archive, it is a library of life, if we did not have these collections to draw, we would be just a kind of a hollow shell it would basically be a visitor center and of course we are much more than that it may not be a visitor center but it is still a beautiful place to visit when this museum first opened it is considered a wonder architectural and I think when visitors come in today and walk in this amazing light filled space with the soaring glass and wood ceiling and the cast iron pillars and there is no other museum like this is a place where people come to meet friends this place some people just sit quietly and i think marvel at the arch itecture the big gallery leads to smaller galleries where most of the collection is on display all these thousands of objects have been analyzed and examined in detail but some still hold secrets one of the most mysterious is this wooden statue of the virgin and child its creator is unknown how it was before ultrav scanning is also unknown ioleta shows multiple attempts to repaint the statue hiding its original colors the conservators have removed the most recent paint the statue is now slightly less colorful but perhaps more true to its original state this historic detective work occurs throughout the museum all days because even beautiful objects are not always what they seem.
We need to abandon our modern relative value judgments between silver and gold. scotland silver is filling that role alice blackwell is cataloging three hoards of silver used in different parts of scotland in the first millennium they include exquisite cups plates and other tableware all brought to scotland by the same people silva comes to scotland via the contact with rome we really don't have any evidence of the use of silver before then and the romans really created a desire for silver, it quickly became the main way you show how important you are. The largest horde was found at Traprayne Law and Iron Age Hill Fort on the northern border of the empire.
Many of the treasure items are really big and impressive. pieces of silver tableware the sort of thing used to show how important you were at a large symbolic feast and are also given as gifts to high ranking officials much of this beautiful silver has been violently chopped into small pieces but was not t the traprain law people who destroyed it so in the past etroprain law silver might have been seen as loot perhaps and northern barbarians plundering late roman silva and cutti Taking it apart these days we tend to see it more as part of a strategic relationship between the barbarian north and the late roman empire.
The empire is buying people. That has been learned to be an effective way to help protect your borders. The Romans pirated. their own silver and turned it into currency to bribe and barter with their northern neighbors, is part of a way of managing silver resources, so piracy becomes more and more important as the roman empire moves towards its The end, but this silver had a life beyond coinage at sites across Scotland Alice and her colleagues are seeing Roman silver being recycled into the first recognizable Scottish silver objects. This is a silver pictish chain. It is exclusive to Scotland.
This type of object. This example is made of solid silver and weighs almost three kilograms, so it shows so much silver that it was available sometime between the 5th and 7th centuries AD, but it also shows the importance placed on silver being an object that screams about status and power of the person these hoards of silver are more than just a beautiful metal they tell the story of the end of an empire and the rise of something resembling scotland so silva is very important because it is the most significant material used in scotland thus underpinning the rise of smaller and smaller elite groups that shift the social structure from an iron age structure to the early kingdoms of early medieval Scotland.
In some ways, Silva underpins the creation of Scotland's forerunner. To understand Scotland one has to understand the past and this building is where the past is kept author alexander mccall smith has many love interests including scotland and music has come to the museum to see one of the most intriguing objects from scotland's past the harp from queen mary this harp is one of the rarest musical instruments in the world and today only modern replicas like this can be played karen loomis has spent years unlocking its secrets a visitor seeing this for the first time might think yes, very beautiful, but where are the strings?
Due to the age of this instrument, it is no longer safe to string it and tighten it to play the instrument, the woodwind. its so old it would destroy it well these historical classics were strung with metal strings so it was a very different sound yes than what people think of harps today it had a very different sound and because the strings are metal metal this instrument has a lot of resonance and it has a very long resonance so once you pluck a string it will continue to play it's a beautiful sound but it just goes on and on and on one could imagine the theme of um the harry line being played in this oh yeah I love it love it yeah it's lovely and I thought harps like this would have once played a central role in garlic culture.
The harpist's job was not only to entertain in great houses, but also to accompany praise poetry. the lord yes and that poetry of praise was often meant to establish the lord's gina genealogy and his status in society but there is a peculiar mystery surrounding this particular harp an old story tells how it was given by mary queen of scotland as a gift to a loyal follower actual evidence for this is scant but using modern ct scan technology karen found an enticing real connection one of the things it showed was where all the nails were in the wood and i pointed to this little circle of nails here that you can definitely see there was something in there that circle is just the right size to hold a half royale gold coin from the reign of Mary Queen of Scots in 1745 the harp was owned by a prominent Jacobite family who supported the stuart dynasty during the jacobite rising fell into the hands of unknown soldiers it seems the queen's coin portrait did not survive the rising if you look at the harp you can see where where there was something h Here you can see the little knicks and you can imagine a soldier pulling out his dagger and tearing out a gold coin and great historical events leave the trace of him.
The wonderful thing about these ancient artifacts is that they provide all sorts of opportunities for detective work. We can't say if this harp ever belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots, but it is reminiscent of a turbulent time in British history when dynasties fell and ancient culture scotland gala started to retire in a sense there it is is is is a harp you understand what a harp looks like but take a closer look at it as I have been privileged to do tonight and you see a lot more you see a lot of Scottish history represented on that object while the detective work continues in the background greater Exhibits are a popular way to attract new visitors.
They can include hundreds of the museum's own objects, many of which have been in storage for years, as well as many on loan from other collections. ions from around the world coming soon its a new show about an old story such exhibits as bonnie prince chandler jacobites are planned two or three years in advance the exhibit will have something in the region of 250+ objects making it a great exhibit of In fact, it will be the first major exhibition on the Jacobites in over 70 years. Some items will need to be repaired before they go on display, including this flimsy frock coat that may have been once worn by bonnie prince charlie himself.
I'm kind. of colors that match some of the colors in the tartan so what I'm going to do is dye some of the wool fabric to match the color tuck it in the back like I'm doing here it'll be a little cleaner and then I'll also do same with yarn and that should help the damage look a lot better but also support it so it doesn't get more damaged. This is a painstaking process involving delicate manual labor as well as the latest technology so what I'm doing is removing the silver tarnish on this spoon by applying this pen which turns the silver tarnish back to silver so it's the most close we are to alchemy here so I've been working on this exhibit for the last month so we can figure out what we need to do with them to make them look their best for the exhibit but also to be surethat they will be safe on display this spoon is just a small part of the prince's travel canteen his outdoor picnic set which included everything a monarch and an exile would need for lunch on the battlefield forks knives an earthquake and a nutmeg grater the canteen is full of iconography and makes a very strong statement the cartouche the small insignia in the middle of the canteen has the prince of wales feathers also around the lid has pursued the order of the thistle we can date that circa 1740 1741 so clearly made in scotland found its way to rome this canteen was abandoned by charles after his defeat at culloden in 1746 in the collection there are other items lost that day t Target is part of a highland warrior's regalia , it is the round shield, they are um wooden boards and with these wonderful highly decorated mounds of silver and, of course, the striking medusa head or gorgonian in the very center, the prince's rear sword was also abandoned. on the battlefield next to the tarja and the canteen it is a poignant reminder of their defeat the place where we must remember i would say gifts fit for our prince these were objects that were made in scotland and sent to the exiled jacobite court in rome as symbols and expressions of fan loyalty here in scotland and that's what makes them so special indeed bonnie prince charlie remains an iconic figure david knows that whatever item ends up on display the public interest in the story he tells will be intense . things from people's souls in a way that you know and it's still held very, very dear today and not just in scotland i mean this is a story that resonates from the s the scottish diaspora also in north america australia new zealand um so it's a very shared story and one we have to deal with to deal with it sensitively but not shy away from controversy if necessary if the truth sometimes clashes with people's romantic notions i'm afraid we have to tell the truth before that the jacobites come an exhibition on ancient egypt the prelude to the opening of a new permanent gallery our collection has over 6,000 egyptian objects and we have 11 mummified or skeletal individuals found in the collection, as well as dozens of coffins, this Collection includes the work of pioneering but little-known Scottish archaeologist Alexander Henry Rind Ryan first went to Egypt on behalf of the Museum of Antiquities and immediately he fell in love with the ancient civilization he saw around him alexander henry ryan was the first experienced archaeologist to work in egypt at a time when work in egypt was little more than looting it was actually recording and precisely planning the objects and where they were he was finding 1857 ryan headed to the ancient city of thebes, he expected to find an intact group of tombs, there were already many grave goods in the museums. around Europe, but the understanding of how those objects were used in the tomb where they were found, how they were related to each other, how they changed over time, was not really understood.
Ryan made one of the most important finds in early Egyptology - an intact tomb used and reused by different families for hundreds of years - the tomb is huge - over a hundred feet carved into the rock face with multiple chambers and different rooms used for different family members the tomb was last used around 10 bc among the objects recovered was this beautiful papyrus this is a funerary papyrus that was created for a woman named tanawat describes how tanwat died shortly after her husband and how important was that she could have given the family a son and a daughter is a really intensely personal document that is quite different from some of the earlier more standardized funerary papyri next to talawat was a younger woman a scan of her mummified remains has revealed details about his life and death, he was between the ages of 25 and 30, about 1.5 meters tall, and one of the s most exciting things we found out was that she has a papyrus scroll next to her and hopefully in the near future that progresses. and scanning developments will allow us to read that scroll and find out exactly who she was. ryan died when he was only 29 years old.
He would never be as famous as later Egyptologists like Howard Carter, who discovered Tutankhamun's tomb, but one of Ryan's greatest. discoveries rival carter's this is king ammon hotep ii decorative box once used to store perfumes cosmetics or other valuable items it is made from all these amazing precious materials ivory ebony cedar wood with gilt all these different products that they come from different parts of the egyptian empire it is also decorated with the home protector deity of the low god who has this kind of grotesque appearance to be able to scare away any powers and all the forces of evil in terms of craftsmanship it is really comparable to tomb boxes from tutankhamen all the treasures in the museum are valuable but there are many ways to measure this some are valuable because of connections to great historical figures like this bull known as a mazer the line in the center almost certainly represents robert the bruce who he may even have drank from himself, also unique is this brilliant travel service, a re Napoleon's Wedding Gallic To His Favorite Sister Pauline Over 100 Intricately Crafted Items From A Toothbrush To A Teapot Allowed Pauline To Travel Europe In Comfort Pauline Provided This Service To Her Friend The Duke Of Hamilton scotland the first pair and owner of a vast artistic collection which also included this 10th century constantinople carved sardonyx bowl said to be attached to a solid gold goblet stand originally commissioned by philip ii of spain this fabulous goblet was it was used at the baptism of the duke's children, but the family sold it at the end of the 19th century due to mounting debts.
One of the most valuable treasures in the collection is not made of silver or gold, it is made of paper and consists entirely of photographs of dead birds there. it is rarity value there are absolutely 13 other sets that are in private hands so they don't come up for sale very often these are some plates from a remarkable book birds of america consisting of 435 individual images still one of the world's oldest records stunning views of the natural world ever created and one of the most valuable a complete set sold for £7.3 million in 2010 the creator was French haitian nature enthusiast and amateur artist john james audubon his idea was to have a painting of every bird in north america that visited the forest and basically went with his folder to hold the drawings all his art equipment his guns and whatever else he needed walking the frontier audubon hoped to capture birds as they lived in the wild which was Saying is that I had to observe in nature and then try to represent that, so it was much more than just the profile of a bird, it was much more how they interactu aba with other birds or how it fed. or being attacked trying to capture what he saw in nature to achieve this audubon skewered his birds on a mounting board and then took out some very large pieces of paper what audubon wanted to do was capture the life size of the bird and he realized that for the larger birds of prey and particularly eagles and the like, he needed the largest paper available, but it became known as double elephant folio just under four feet by three-quarters of a yard wide, the overwhelming size of the images was just one of the many criticisms that odubong faced was that people who would buy something at that price would not want something that big because it was almost a piece of furniture rather than an addition to the library there was also a lot of criticism about his images that the poses in which he put some of the birds were said to be unnatural.
Despite the criticism, the book was an artistic triumph, but its value lies not only in its beauty, it is a scientific record of a world that is no longer with us, it was scientifically important because it discovered 25 new species and 12 subspaces in that time. one of the prints we have is the carolina parakeet he was the first bird illustrator to see that but by 1914 it had completely disappeared Gone Odubon had strong links to the University of Edinburgh whose natural history collection was absorbed into the museum. Connections like these help explain why today's collections are so diverse. the university of edinburgh which brought us specimens from many countries around the world but even from the beginning we are collecting the latest scientific and technological advances logical innovations we are collecting material from seven continents connections with famous Scots who traveled these seven continents has also strengthened the david livingstone collection sent this loom to george wilson the first director of the museum and an old school friend it was used by the manganja people who lived in present day malawi livingstone recognized the economic importance of cotton to the people of southern africa james young simpson The pioneer of anesthesia donated this immense relief to the Society of Antiquaries A Precursor to the Museum in 1865 Shows King Ashpurnashpurnal II Ruler of Assyria around 900 BC. this relief would once have welcomed visitors to his palace in nimrod present-day iraq much of the city now lies in ruins destroyed by the group known as islamic state in 2015 museums today cannot rely solely on generous people and collecting is not just about the past it's an ongoing endeavor museums represent the present for the future because when we walk in the national museums of scotland we see victorian buildings and associate it with something that was before us but when they were built they were built as sort of messages for the future and that's what we continue to do henrietta lychee is the keeper of world cultures her department is constantly acquiring modern objects from all over the world we are developing new galleries in 2018 in china, japan and korea so we started to collecting contemporary Chinese art we have a specialist in the department who works in Iranian art co contemporary and also in the history of this institution in relation to iranian art henrietta's specialty emphasizes the scope of the museum's collections she collects contemporary jewelry from the american southwest collecting is a learned skill i have been going to the southwest for 20 years i volunteered at something called the Indian Indian Market The market is the largest gathering of contemporary Native art in the entire United States.
Many collectors go a lot. of museums go so that you not only understand what people are making, but also understand what people are buying where the field is moving who is coming up with new iterations henrietta's job is to figure out which pieces can best represent a major artist or culture that may be an expression of traditional life traditional sensibility traditional practice something that has been going on for hundreds of years or it may be a very contemporary snapshot of how, for example, Native Americans feel about their universe at that time. moment and both are valid, it is not the truth it is about your feeling at that moment about that world through objects in our own acquisitions henrietta can see the contemporary history of an entire town what happens with the southwestern jury is which records the history of that area very clearly but then what happens in the 1960s and the 1970s is this combination n of counterculture movements in the united states and the american indian movement you can look at jimi hendrix or cher and they are all bedecked in jewels it is this interweaving of artistic expression traditional richness and modern culture so you can see through the jury that, In a sense, Native Americans have always been both traditional and modern and that the union of the traditional and the modern defines the museum today just catapults you into that time when you're young and you're a kid and you walked in there with your family and your friends and you say, okay, how can I get locked up here without anyone finding out? im here eunice olamidi grew up in westerhales edinburgh is a model and designer and has come to see the complete works of gene muir a former patron of the museum and designer once acclaimed as british chanel the collection includes around eighteen thousand objects from rough sketches for beautiful complete clothes the first thing i have to show you today is a really classic jimmy her signature piece she is very famous for the black type of dress li little navy blue dress wow she has kept in mind the female figure she really designed to flatter the shape feminine wanted things to move with the body she is really into dancing and all for that reason she has that real feeling of movement i love it when you get these pieces that look so simple and then when you put them on her everything is really very technically complex but it looks so simple jean muir considered herself a dressmaker rather than a fashion designer her clothes were simple comfortable and effortlessly elegant Brilliantly in her ability to work with avariety of fabrics while molding them to your own recognizable style.
I love the way the skirt flutters. I can almost imagine what it would be like, you know, just walking down the street. the fabric blows with the wind etc i think it would feel amazing to wear it yes i think too muir trained as a lawyer before getting a job at the department store freedom imaginative and creative but also disciplined and ironclad, she worked her way up to become one of the most respected designers in the world in the 1960s. The sensual, flowing cut of her clothing earned her a loyal following. For example, and even being a fan of Jean Muir, they say her designs are timeless and actually beyond fashion, but there was more to Gene Muir than dark tones and little black dresses.
The museum houses numerous pieces that encompass bright colors but show off her love of fabric and a distinctive approach to form so this is a jacket this is a jacket made of handmade felt and it's quite multi colored actually yes it's very painterly although you know it's almost as if someone was taking a brush and she did it a lot with her wool and she called it Kashmir painting because Kashmir takes color so well so I guess what that shows is that again the making of the craft of the piece is so integral to the job, otherwise it just wouldn't sit right, would it? and i want to make the wool felt behave as well i mean it's really tricky so it's pretty sturdy. to stay true to her principles of creating comfortable women's clothing and I love this piece because it has this drape like it's a textile, yes, but it's actually quite a substantial piece of animal skin and yet it's very feminine. it flows but then with the change in the fabric it becomes completely extraordinary the museum also has jewelery designed by jean muir along with 400 finished garments including some of her own personal garments it is the most comprehensive record of this extraordinary designer wow ok so basically yes everything this the drawer disappeared no one would notice i would realize that the new art and design galleries tell the story of style from the 13th century to today and the new science and technology and galleries show how we have created the modern world out of the lab equipment used by joseph black who discovered carbon dioxide at the end of the eye the first commercially available prosthetic hand with five individually actuated digits and from the apple one computer one of only 200 was built to carry the first mammal cloned from an adult cell and then there is this machine designed to discover the secrets cough of the universe itself the universe is made of matter and what we understand is that matter is made of molecules and that it is made of atoms by looking at really tiny things we can understand the huge picture of the universe we live in discover the secrets of the universe it is the work of cern scientists one of the largest science projects ever undertaken and this machine was right in the middle so the large electron positron collider or lep lip we call it a collider that ran at cern for the decade from 1990, but this thing was absolutely huge, it's 27 kilometers, about 17 miles around. a tunnel 100 meters underground under the French-Swiss border inside that right in the center we had these electrons and these anti-electrons going around and we basically squashed them together 128 of these accelerators were placed in the tunnel.
The goal was to find smaller and smaller particles. The lep was a success. about and because of that we ripped our lip off and put in the large hadron collider that is now crashing its urn and that found the higgs boson the work at cern is the building blocks of modern scientific research and the data that will affect everything , from healthcare to communications for generations to come, I think it's really important that the public have an opportunity to see the work that we do at cern and the scientific work that's being done in general because, in a sense, they help fund that work through tax contributions, but we also don't do the work just for ourselves, we do the work because eventually there will be some benefit to humanity 150 years after this building was unveiled the challenges remain the same to do history of the world available accessible and understandable to anyone who walks off the street this museum has never been static, it has always It's been in a state of flux, a state of flux and that will be the case for the next century and a half, but certainly I'm sure that this building itself and this wonderful architecture will be at the heart of the museum for many decades to come.
We have never needed more museums. the things in front of them is an emotion that never goes away
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