Wikinews invited to grand re-opening of Scottish National Portrait Gallery
View from first floor into Grand Hall, with Robert Burns
' statue from the Calton Hill Monument.
December 1st saw Edinburgh's Scottish National Portrait Gallery reopen following a two-and-a-half-year, £17.6m (US$27.4m) refurbishment. Conversion of office and storage areas sees 60% more space available for displays, and the world's first purpose-built portrait space is redefining what a portrait gallery should contain; amongst the displays are photographs of the Scottish landscape—portraits of the country itself.
First opened in 1889, Sir Robert Rowand Anderson's red sandstone building was gifted to the nation by John Ritchie Findlay, then-owner of The Scotsman newspaper and, a well-known philanthropist. The original cost of construction between 1885 and 1890 is estimated at over 70,000 pounds sterling. Up until 1954, the building also housed the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland who moved to the National Museum of Scotland buildings on Chambers Street. The society's original meeting table now sits in the public part of the portrait gallery's library, stared down on by an array of busts and phrenological artefacts.
Image of the newly-installed glass elevator, significantly improving access to upper floors of the gallery.
Wikinews contributor Brian McNeil, with other members of the press, received a guided tour of the gallery the Monday prior to the reopening from Deputy Director Nicola Kalinsky. What Kalinsky described as an introduction to the gallery that previously took around 40 minutes, now takes in excess of an hour-and-a-half; with little in the way of questions asked, a more inquisitive tour group could readily take well over two hours to be guided round the seventeen exhibitions currently housed in the gallery.
A substantial amount of the 60% additional exhibition space is readily apparent on the ground floor. For example, on the left as you enter the gallery is the newly-fitted giant glass elevator, and the "Hot Scots" photographic portrait gallery. This exhibit is intended to show well-known Scottish faces, and will change over time as people fall out of favour, and others take their place. A substantial number of the people now being highlighted are current, and recent, cast members from the BBC's Doctor Who series.
Andy Mabbett's German Visit
Martina Fritz of the Hamburgmuseum scans the first QRpedia code in Germany
Whilst in Amsterdam for GLAMcamp, Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing) gave a presentation on QRpedia. As a result of this, he was asked to repeat the presentation at a meeting between Wikimedia Germany (WM-DE) and a consortium of museums in Hamburg: five days later! After prompt action by WM-DE, who quickly arranged to cover his travel and accommodation costs, Andy was able to book tickets and rearrange his diary commitments.
WM-DE's Peter Weis, who arranged the meeting in Hamburg, also kindly acted as Andy's host, pulling together a programme of cultural and social activities during Andy's brief stay.
During the meeting, at Hamburgmuseum, Hamburg's local history museum (with which there is already a partnership), Andy and Peter spoke to senior representatives of several museums about Wikimedia's GLAM activities, including QRpedia. Andy highlighted the success of both at Derby Museum and Art Gallery and the The Children's Museum of Indianapolis in particular, proposing that they should be replicated in Hamburg. The proposals were well received, and after the meeting the first QRpedia code in Germany (we think, at least) was deployed at the museum's reception desk.
You can read more in Andy's blog post about both events.
Training for West Midlands GLAMs
Soon after he returned from Germany (see above), Andy Mabbett ran training event for staff from museums and other GLAMs in the West Midlands. Held at the Black Country Living Museum, the event (following on from a workshop Andy gave in September) was attended by a number of curators, plus librarians and staff from two botanical gardens (a type of organisation often overlooked in our GLAM work). Articles started or improved during the session (which was a prelude to a forthcoming Backstage Pass event at BCLM) included:
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