A new home for our fossil and costume collections

Posted under:

2010 closed on an exciting note at the National Museums Collection Centre in Granton as the new building 15 store was handed over to us. Having been “sparkle cleaned”, it’s ready and waiting for the collections to start moving in. The new store is an extension to the original building opened in 2008, and is a mirror image of the existing building.

The ground floor will be taking the Palaeobiology (fossil) collections.  These collections, consisting of about 250,000 specimens, are of international importance and have been held in temporary storage areas around the site, off-site at Coatbridge and in the old photography studio at Chambers Street, since the decant of the Royal Museum building. Of particular significance is our Type & Figured fossil collection, consisting of specimens which have featured in scientific publications dating back to the 1820s.  Type specimens are the most important because they were given new species names and are used as a basis for the identification of subsequent finds.  It’s great to be able to bring the collections together into purpose built storage. We are anticipating an upsurge in visits by researchers to study these collections, due to their improved accessibility.

Vertebrate Palaentology crates packed into an older store room. These were taken out of the Royal Museum galleries in 2008.
Vertebrate Palaentology crates packed into an older store room. These were taken out of the Royal Museum galleries in 2008.
The new 'sparkle-cleaned' storage areas.
The new “sparkle-cleaned” storage areas.

Costume and textiles will go into the upstairs of the new extension.  We are bringing together items from Leith Customs House and the storage areas at the National Museum of Costume.  This means that the entire first floor of the whole of building 15 will contain all our costumes and textiles and will look like the biggest dressing up box in the world… or at least Scotland. Our costume and textile collections contain approximately 50,000 items dating from c.1500 to the present day. They include a number of important collections including the well-known Jean Muir collection. Whilst there will be no trying on of items, the new storage will make the collections far more accessible for research and public visits.  We now have custom-made storage for all our hanging and boxed costume; textile drawers (850 to be precise) which will include specially designed inserts for our Bog Costumes; and we have brand new giant plan chests where banners and other flat material can be viewed.

Outfits from the Jean Muir collection
Outfits from the Jean Muir collection. Photo by Paul Dodds.

As with the original building 15 we have temperature and humidity controls so that we can keep collections in optimum conditions, along with miles of dust-proofing to keep the dust and pests out.

The Collections Care and Palaeobiology teams have been working with curatorial, conservation and estates colleagues to prepare the collections for moving, and from early November  a procession of material has been moving in.

- Posted

Add your comments


Related posts