National Museum celebrates Chinese New Year

The National Museum of Scotland launched its new East Asian Exhibition today as part of a number of events across the Capital celebrating the Chinese New Year.

The exhibition follows Chinese New Year on Tuesday, and is part of a series of celebrations across Edinburgh which culminates with an official concert on Saturday 9th of February.

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The Exploring East Asia, Ancient Egypt Rediscovered and The Art of Ceramics open on the 8th of February, concluding the Museums 15 year long, £80 million redevelopment.

Bruce Minto, Chair of National Museums Scotland said:

“This is a truly historic moment in the life of a great museum. The transformation of this iconic Victorian building on time and on budget is an achievement of which the nation can be rightly proud.”

“Our outstanding collections help us to tell a vast range of diverse and fascinating stories from across the globe highlighting the many Scots involved in invention, innovation and discovery.  These stories have engaged our many supporters who have given generously to help us achieve our ambitions and to whom I am extremely grateful.”

The Celebrations aim to draw in more tourism from China. This comes as Edinburgh City Council decides to back a £2-a-night tourist tax.

Images credit: The National Museum of Scotland.

 

Rip It Up – Inside the Simple Minds of Scotland’s Musical Geniuses

When thinking of popular music in Scotland, what comes to mind? Does one wonder about those extra 500 miles you’d be willing to walk just to be the man who walks a thousand miles to fall down at your door?

Maybe you reminisce about being around loved ones belting out Loch Lomond Hogmonay or the Paulo Nutinis and Simple Minds of the world come to mind. These are all great examples of what makes music in Scotland great, but they are just a few drops in a great ocean of musical magic, and diving beneath the surface reveals a vast magnitude of songs, genres and artists dating back to the dance hall days of the 1930’s. Enter Rip It Up, an exhibition celebrating Caledonian musical creativeness.

Working alongside BBC Scotland, the National Museum of Scotland has put together an exhibition that takes audiences on a journey through popular music history in Scotland. One of the foremost surprises about this exhibit is discovering all of the bands and artists that were born in Caledonia. It may surprise fans of legendary Australian rockers AC/DC  to learn that the iconic Young brothers were born in Cranhill, Glasgow, alongside original singer Bon Scott, who grew up in Ayr.

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AC/DC Guitarist Angus Young, who was born in Glasgow. Photo by Ed Vill.

Walking through the decades, this exhibit features many interactive portals, from jukeboxes to music videos, giving the visitor a chance to learn about the early days of Scottish folk, with key figures such as Hamish Imlach, to Billy Connelly’s short-lived group The Humblebums. 

Scotland is a great ocean of musical magic, and diving beneath the surface reveals a vast magnitude of songs, genres and artists dating back to the dance hall days of the 1930’s.

As the exhibition travels forward in time, the faces and names become more recognisable. Instruments and memorabilia from bands who became successful worldwide are proudly displayed behind thick glass and “no photography allowed” signs, from custom Bay City Rollers guitars to the sunglasses Ultravox singer Midge Ure wore during the iconic Live Aid event. It features striking visuals, from old punk rock posters to stadium gigs projected on walls, and the ever-changing playlist of great Scots artists, from In a Big Country to Many of Horror.

Rip-It-Up curator Stephen Allan explains why it is relevant to start at the very beginning and work towards where we are now in music history: “Between the objects, the AV and the music, people will be able to learn more about their favourite artists and see their treasured objects up close, but also to discover music that is new to them in a whistlestop tour of over six decades of Scottish pop.”  

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Musical Scots legends Simple Minds. photo by Stefan Brending

Many of the artists included in the exhibit were interviewed and feature on various videos played there. A continuous theme that emerges from these interviews is the sense of community and respect bands had for one another. Anyone who has lived in Scotland will be painfully aware of the cold, wet nights that can plague many of our months. Along with boredom, unemployment and creative energy, this seems to have sparked many bands that started in the working man’s clubs of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and went on to perform on the prominent stages all over the world.

Allan explains why this exhibit will relate to a wide audience: “Popular music is a shared experience and a really important one in many people’s lives. We want the exhibition to capture people’s imagination and allow them to reflect on their own experiences of listening to and enjoying music.”

Shirley Manson from the bands Garbage and Goodbye McKenzie applauds the National Museum of Scotland for recognising the depth and influence of Scottish artists: “Scotland has long deserved an examination of its rich musical heritage, the effects of which can be heard all over our globe today. While music is universal, and Garbage is an international band, being Scottish is a large part of who I am and has had a huge bearing on my work and our career.”

Scotland has inspired many bands that started in the working man’s clubs of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and went on to perform on the prominent stages all over the world.

A visit to this exhibit is essential for any young musician looking to turn their talent into a lifelong adventure or for the die-hard music fans who grew up with posters of these musicians hanging on their bedroom walls. Those who came before, and continue to create, are all represented under the banner of creative Caledonia. The exhibit will close on November 25, so be sure to catch it, before they rip it up and start again.

More Information on Rip It Up can be found here

As well as the main exhibition itself, students from our very own Napier University will be performing a night of Scottish songs from artists featured at Rip It Up, on Thursday 25th October. Tickets for the event, held at Summerhall, can be found here

 

You can now explore The National Museum of Scotland online!

Using the same system as Google Street View, you can now explore everything on offer at the National Museum of Scotland from the comfort of your own home.

Hosted by Google Arts and Culture the entire museum has been uploaded online, alongside 1000 up close pictures of specific exhibitions.

This is the first time that a museum in Scotland has been integrated into this system. Although, most of the artworks from the National Galleries of Scotland are available to be viewed as static images.

This comes after an initiative for the museum to become more accessible to everyone, head of Digital Marketing Rob Crawston talked to the BBC about the new system saying: “Digital technology is offering us unparalleled opportunities to do just that, and our partnership with Google Arts & Culture gives people from around the world a novel new way to explore the museum and discover its world-class collections.”

You can view the museum online here.

Top 10 tourist attractions in Edinburgh after the Fringe

As autumn rolls round, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival rolls out, and you’d be forgiven for feeling as though there’s nothing to do in the city, when there isn’t anyone bugging you on the Royal Mile to go to their free show. But never fear, as we are here to show you what you can get up to in the city all year round:

  1. Arthur’s Seat

    Arthur’s Seat offers a relaxing climb to one of Edinburgh’s best views, giving you a chance to see the city from a whole new perspective.
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  2. Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

    The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh is a brilliant way to escape the bustle of the city, explore the wonders of plant life from around the world in this wonderful greenhouse hide away.
    botanic-gardens

  3. Mary King’s Close

    Edinburgh is renowned for its old architecture and history, making Mary King’s Close the perfect place to visit for a taste of old Edinburgh and a touch of beauty.
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  4. Scottish National Gallery

    The Scottish National Gallery hosts a range of different exhibits throughout the year, offering a gift shop and cafe looking over Princes Street Gardens. This is the perfect place to break for lunch, a touch of culture and a relaxing atmosphere.
    national-gallery

  5. Camera Obscura

    Camera Obscura will change the way you look at the world. Informative but fun, this is the perfect family entertainment during a busy day.
    camera-obscura

  6. Edinburgh Castle

    Edinburgh Castle is in the heart of the city, looking down from its plateau of volcanic rock. An adventure awaits inside with Edinburgh’s history wound into the very fabric of the walls. It’s a wonderful chance to learn about Scotland on the whole and escape the chilly Scottish weather.
    castle

  7. The Edinburgh Dungeon

    For those who enjoy the dark and frightening The Edinburgh Dungeon, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore Edinburgh from underground while keeping your heart and mind racing.
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  8. The Scotch Whisky Experience

    On a cold day, the Scotch Whisky Experience is a perfect chance to warm up and relax. This experience is worth every penny and will teach you everything you could ever want to know about whisky while letting you enjoy some too.
    whisky-experience

  9. National Museum of Scotland

    The National Museum of Scotland offers new exhibits throughout the year and attracts people every day from all over. However you’ll never feel crowded in this amazing space while you explore the wonders of the world from the deep seas to the history of the automobile.
    museum

  10. Calton Hill and the Scottish National Monument

    A chance to escape the city and see Edinburgh in another completely different way. Calton Hill and the Scottish National Monument are an easy stroll out of the city centre.
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