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Patron: Her Majesty the Queen


The Royal Scottish Society of Arts
Showcasing Scotland's Science, Technology and Innovation

4th Meeting of the 178th Session (1988-1999)

'The New Acropolis':
The architecture of the Museum of Scotland as the standard of things to come

Professor Charles McKean
Professor of Scottish Architectural History
University of Dundee

In the Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street
Edinburgh, On Monday 18th January 1999

The ambition of securing a fitting display site for the principal Scottish collections of the National Museums was finally achieved when Her Majesty the Queen opened the new Museum of Scotland. Easily as remarkable and challenging as the treasurers of Scotland's material culture that it contains, it has been described as perhaps the finest Scottish building of the 20th century. We celebrate its completion at a time when there is a rising sense of Scottish identity and aspirations, bound up inevitably with the building of the new parliament.

Professor McKean explores the history of the idea and shows how it has been transformed into what many will see as a modern cultural temple, evoking the stength and internationalism of Scotland's rich traditions and the renewed confidence of a capital known throughout early 19th-century Europe as the 'Modern Athens'.

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