Scotland’s first university opens its new museum

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THE oldest Scottish university is set to open the doors of its new museum on Saturday, June 26.

The University of St Andrews’ Wardlaw Museum will reopen following more than a year’s delay due to the pandemic.

The museum has undergone a £2.1 million overhaul which has delivered 50% more space, reimagined displays in four thematic galleries, a new temporary exhibitions space, and a remodelled entrance area and shop.

This space will provide an exciting cultural venue at the heart of St Andrews’ cultural quarter, which now includes the Laidlaw Music Centre, Byre Theatre, and redeveloped Younger Hall. 

Philip the lobster with Peter Pan and his shadow at the Wardlaw
Photo by the University of St Andrews. The opening of the Wardlaw Museum inaugurates an exciting programme of temporary exhibitions.

The University’s collections include around 115,000 objects of national and international interest.

Visitors will be able to see a broader selection than previously in the Wardlaw Museum, including some that have not been on display before.

The selection includes a Thai silver zodiac bowl, prototype LEDs developed in the 1970s, beautiful models of plants and flowers, and a NASA telegram that accompanied moon rock samples sent to the University for analysis.

The first of these is The Death of Marat & the Birth of the Lobster, a display of new work by University alumnus Philip Colbert.

Colbert is bringing his hyper-pop universe to St Andrews, and the centrepiece is a new work inspired by Jacques-Louis David’s masterpiece showing the last moments of Jean-Paul Marat reinterpreted in Colbert’s signature style.

Opening exhibitions at the Wardlaw Museum also include two curated by students on the University’s MLitt Museum and Gallery Studies Programme.

Philip Colbert's lobster - Scottish News
Photo by the University of St Andrews. The museum, which sits on The Scores with a backdrop of the North Sea, will be open seven days a week, including early evenings on weekdays.

Dr Catherine Eagleton, Director of Museums at the University, said: “After a long delay due to the pandemic, we can’t wait to share the new Wardlaw Museum with our staff and students, with our local community, and with visitors from further afield.

“Museums just aren’t the same without visitors in them – having interesting conversations, finding ideas or inspiration, learning new things, or enjoying a moment of calm and reflection.”