The museum from Chambers Street
|Location||Chambers Street, Edinburgh, Scotland|
|Owner||National Museums of Scotland|
The Royal Museum began in the 19th century and was added to in the 1990s when a new building known as The Museum of Scotland was added on. Both names became defunct in 2007 when they were merged into The National Museum of Scotland. As with all museums and art galleries in the United Kingdom, admission, other than for special temporary exhibitions, is free.
The Royal Museum is currently closed while a £46 million refurbishment, The Royal Museum Project, is undertaken.
The museum contains artifacts from around the world, encompassing geology, archaeology, natural history, science, technology and art. One of the more notable exhibits is the stuffed body of Dolly (sheep), the first successful clone of a mammal from an adult cell. Other highlights include Ancient Egyptian exhibitions, one of Elton John's extravagant suits, a suspended whale skeleton and the Millennium clock. The wing which contains the aforementioned whale skeleton is temporarily closed for renovation, and will reopen in 2011.
The museum currently has an exhibit on Picasso ("Fired With Passion") for which an extra fee is charged. Past temporary exhibits include the Ivy Wu gallery with exhibits of art and script from Japan, China and Korea and ran from 2006 to Oct 2008.
The museum has been known to display prank exhibits on April Fool's Day on at least one occasion. In 1975, a fictitious bird called the Bare-fronted Hoodwink (known for its innate ability to fly away from observers before they could accurately identify it) was put on display. The exhibit included photos of blurry birds flying away. To make the exhibit more convincing, a mount of the bird was sewn together by a taxidermist from various scraps of real birds, including the head of a Carrion Crow, the body of a Plover, and the feet of an unknown waterfowl. The bare front was compromised with wax.
Construction was started in 1861 and proceeded in phases, with some sections opening before others had even begun construction. The original extent of the building was completed in 1888. It was designed by Captain Francis Fowke of the Royal Engineers, who is also responsible for the Royal Albert Hall. The exterior, designed in a Venetian Renaissance style, contrasts sharply with the light flooded main hall, inspired by The Crystal Palace.
Initially, much of its collection came from the Museum of Edinburgh University; there is even a bridge connecting the museum to the University's Old College building. The students saw the collection as their own, and curators would often find the exhibits rearranged or even missing. The final straw came in the 1870s, when students who were holding a party found that the museum was also holding a reception for local dignitaries, and had stored refreshments in the bridge. When the museum found the refreshments missing, the bridge was bricked up the next day, as it has remained since.
Numerous extensions to the back have extended the museum greatly since then. In 1998 the Museum of Scotland opened, which is linked internally to the Royal Museum. The two separate museums were then merged into one called The National Museum of Scotland in 2007.
Royal Museum is a museum located on Chambers Street, Edinburgh, UK. It is a national museum of Scotland, the other being the adjacent Museum of Scotland. Both names merged with each other in 2007 to become the National Museum of Scotland.