The Hippo Welcomes You

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel news

According to the BBC, some 22,000 people visited the newly opened Chambers Street part of the National Museum of Scotland on Friday, its opening day. I was one. I can’t vouch for the numbers since as no-one paid, I couldn’t see how we could be counted. But it was busy, outside as well as in.
Is it worth the wait?
Collecting my free hippo badge as I walked though the first thing that struck me had little to do with the museum. I heard English voices, American ones, French ones and ones I didn’t recognise. There were Scots accents as well but they were outweighed by the number of others. Well it was a Friday so many could still be at work.
I missed the free entertainment on the museum steps before it opened as I didn’t get there till after midday. By then the steps were covered with people sitting on them. Inside though, certain exhibits were attracting such as Jackie Stewart’s racing car and Papua New Guinean slit gong used for sending messages. Adults and children all wanted to hit it to listen to the noise.
So what did I make of the new areas and the presentation of exhibits? In some areas such as those on textiles it seemed dark and, whilst I realise you don’t want too much light to affect the colours, a little more might have helped. The new areas are, on the whole, airy but exhibits in the middle of the halls have information cards too low down to read comfortably. And the modern section which abuts George IV Bridge still seems to me to be out-of-place with the rest of the architecture. The stone colouring is the same but it looks like an add-on rather than an integral part of the same building
Yes I’m nitpicking because nobody I spoke to had any gripes at all – apart for the queue for the toilets. And surely that is a sure sign of the museum’s appeal.
Just to remind you, the Museum has free entry for all comers.

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