As Heritage Learning and Access Assistant at Campbeltown Museum, Khara MacPhail has been researching collections and interpretation techniques across Scotland! Find out about Khara’s recent visit to the National Museum of Scotland and The National Galleries of Scotland.
I recently took a trip to Edinburgh, where I visited the National Museum of Scotland and the National Gallery of Scotland. Having spent little time in Edinburgh, I was fascinated by the architecture and structure of the city. In the morning, I took a walk, which allowed me to explore and take in the beauty of Edinburgh. I definitely walked for longer than intended; there is just so much to explore!
My first stop was the National Museum of Scotland, where I spent almost four hours walking, exploring displays and attempting to take everything in. There is an overwhelming number of items on display, and for someone as curious as me, it meant I had to try and read about everything! My favourite parts of the NMS were the ‘Early People’ and ‘Kingdom of the Scots’ as I have been studying some of the items at university, and we have related items on display at Campbeltown Museum. I am a great admirer of archaeology and early life but have never been as fascinated with this period until my visit to NMS.
The next day was my dedicated art day. I visited the Royal Scottish Academy’s Turner exhibition and then the National Gallery of Art, conveniently located in the next building. I enjoyed looking at all the paintings in real life as I have been researching some of the artists on display for my museum apprenticeship last year and for my art qualification in secondary school. Finally, getting to see the artworks of artists I have been researching for years in real life was amazing! The size and colours are not justified online or in books. I also discovered some new artists to look into further. My favourite display, and the one that led me to plan this trip, was the William McTaggart exhibition at NGS. I am a massive fan of McTaggart’s work, and I live in the same area that he did, so I may be a little biased.
At the end of the visit, I purchased some art books in the gift shop relating to artists and artwork themes on display and in-store at Campbeltown Museum. These will come in handy in the museum's upcoming reading/learning corner.
Overall, the simplicity of the displays and the uniformity of the interpretation panels throughout created a professional, clean look, allowing the visitor to interact solely with the object. This is something I want to replicate at Campbeltown Museum.
I think it is fair to say that I enjoyed every minute of my trip and will definitely be back in Edinburgh, sooner rather than later, to visit other attractions.