A guest post by Norm Webster, Flight Display Director for Scotland’s National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 26 July 2014

Scotland’s National Airshow is a spectacular day out for all the family. Aircraft old and new take to the skies for an afternoon of breathtaking aerial displays , including the return of the Red Arrows to East Fortune. Back on the ground you can meet the pilots and explore our hangars at National Museum of Flight. 

Find out what’s in store for Scotland’s National Airshow this year with Fred Macaulay from BBC One’s On the Road 2014  

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Book tickets online here

There’s only a few days to go to the Scotland’s National Airshow and I’m feeling quite relaxed – I wonder what I’m missing?

Six year old Mia looks forward to the arrival of the RAF Red Arrows at Scotland’s National Airshow on Sat 26 July © Phil Wilkinson

Six year old Mia looks forward to the arrival of the RAF Red Arrows at Scotland’s National Airshow on Sat 26 July © Phil Wilkinson

That’s a regular feeling for display organisers. When everything seems to be going well and all your plans are working you begin to worry that you’ve missed something, or there’s a large alligator waiting in the wings to take a bite out of you.

American Alligator in Florida, USA.

American Alligator in Florida, USA.

As it is, I’ve checked, double checked and triple checked, and everything that I personally can do to make the day a success has been done (I think!). The display is planned down to the last minute, the Edinburgh airport and Archerfield airstrip plans are done and work (I hope!) and the display team plan is written and distributed to my team.

The Breitling WIngwalker's Boeing Stearman aircraft at Archerfield ready for Scotland's National Airshow in 2013.

The Breitling WIngwalker’s Boeing Stearman aircraft at Archerfield ready for Scotland’s National Airshow in 2013.

This year, visitors to the Airshow will have the chance to get up close to some helicopters: the OH6 Huey and Wasp, which will be parked in the show ground; and the Royal Navy’s Sea King and RAF Red Arrow’s Squirrel helicopters will be landing on the day. I am confident that Scotland’s National Airshow will be a great success.

OH6 Huey Helicopter arriving at Scotland’s National Airshow in 2013 © Thomas Sunley

Anyway, that’s my musings today – I’ve not got a great deal to say because just about everything is done. I’ll be wending my way up the M6 next Thursday full of the joys of spring and ready for my favourite airshow of the year. I’ll write again when it’s all over.

See you at East Fortune,

Norm Webster

By Eileen Budd, Exhibitions and Design

Saskia de Brauw is a leading international model and artist, born in the Netherlands of Dutch and Scottish parentage.  Saskia’s artwork incorporates elements of photography and performance art as well as text and graphics.  The exhibition we were installing, The Accidental Fold is a collection of 21 prints, hung intermittently throughout the Sculpture Gallery on Level 5 of National Museum of Scotland.  The prints are photographs of a variety of found objects printed onto cotton, tissue and rice papers.  These found objects vary from locks of hair and bird feathers to detergent bottles and broken mirrors.

Installing the images.

Stuart on the genie lift measuring for wire placement.

The 1-3m long prints are layered in some sections and hang alone in others, each piece reacting to one of the classical pieces of sculpture which sit alongside as part of our permanent display. The work sets up a lovely juxtaposition between our sculpture collection and her artwork.  Solid stone, marble and bronze sculptures versus the butterfly wing delicate and ghostlike images.

Exhibition Officer Sarah Teale in the exhibition

Sarah, vigilantly invigilating!

Looking at the work in situ now, peacefully hanging in mid-air, so fragile they look as though they’re being held up by sunlight, it’s hard to imagine just how intense it was to get them up there.

Installing them was a real challenge, partly because of the height issues we faced in fixing these prints to the roof beams five floors above the Grand Gallery and partly because of how delicate the prints were. Negotiating permanent display cases with a large gene lift, a set of ladders and 21 sheets of easy-to-tear three metre-long sheets of tissue paper meant that moving slowly and precisely was the order of the three days which followed.

Stevie and Stuart, our Exhibition Technicians, did an amazing job, first fixing the wire along the beams to hang the prints from and then the continuous climb up and down ladders or yo-yoing up and down in the genie lift.  Thankfully our intrepid heroes do not suffer from a fear of heights!

Stevie and Stuart hanging the artwork

Attaching rings to the wire: Stevie, Stuart and Saskia.

We made sure to stick to very strict regulations about working at height and had to allow the correct distance from the balcony’s edge at all times. As intense, physically exhausting and challenging exhibition installations can be, it is also tremendous fun.  Saskia was great to work with and Stuart was particularly impressed to find out she had met his hero, David Bowie.  Saskia was equally impressed with our Elvis impressions and impromptu Scottish folk song renditions.

Ready for anything!

Team Alpha!

I would encourage you to go and experience walking among the artworks and as you gaze upon the giant image of a discarded orange peel, think that there can be beauty in the ordinary and there’s a real optimism in that.  Saskia’s work allows us to take a second look at something, to see it from a different perspective. Just as objects, seen in their true light.

The finished exhibition

The finished exhibition in the Sculpture gallery.

We are proud to be hosting Saskia de Brauw’s exhibition The Accidental Fold in partnership with the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival.  The exhibition is in the National Museum of Scotland’s Sculpture Gallery on Level 5 until Monday 28 July . Find out more on Saskia’s blog.

Jo Sohn-RethelBy Jo Sohn-Rethel, Project Co-ordinator, Next of Kin

The Next of Kin touring project centres on revealing the personal experiences of Scottish families during the First World War as a way of commemorating the centenary of the conflict. Through the personal effects of the servicemen and women passed on to their families and down through generations, the exhibition provides unique insights into their poignant stories of separation and sacrifice. After the exhibition closes at the National War Museum next year, the display will travel to nine museums across Scotland and the objects from National Museums Scotland collections will be joined by artefacts and people associated with the local areas of each venue. Along with the object case displays, these stories will be incorporated into a digital interactive on display and community groups will create their own responses to the topic through an object handling box.

Embroidered postcard sent by Private George Buchanan to his sister

Embroidered postcard sent by Private George Buchanan to his sister.

As coordinator of the project, my first few weeks or so involved helping the team to prepare graphics and audio-visual content for installation at the War Museum. Much time was spent editing down original newsreel footage acquired from Imperial War Museum collections which are being shown in a recreated wartime cinema room. The aim is to convey how families would have found out about the experiences of their loved ones on the fighting fronts, albeit through carefully selected footage such as soldiers from the Black Watch regiment at a sports day and ‘the wonderful organisation of the Royal Army Medical Corps’.

Still from 'The Wonderful Organisation of the R.A.M.C.' film, produced by the War Office, 1916, IWM 133, Courtesy of the Trustees of the Imperial War Museum

Still from ‘The Wonderful Organisation of the R.A.M.C.’ film, produced by the War Office, 1916, IWM 133, Courtesy of the Trustees of the Imperial War Museum.

Another immersive audio visual element in the exhibition is a soundscape of voices taken from letter correspondence between family members and diary entries on display. Original archive artefacts make up nearly half of the objects on display, including a poignant postcard sent by Private William Dick to his wife, a letter from a German soldier to the family of Private James Scouller describing their son’s last moments on the battlefield, and a letter from a Presbyterian Chaplain informing Mrs Buchanan of her son Private George Buchanan’s death. Recordings of actors (and museum staff!) reading out this archive material helps to evoke the personalities and emotions of the protagonists in the stories.

You can hear the stories here:

Family photograph of Private George Buchanan in uniform

Family photograph of Private George Buchanan in uniform.

Touring the exhibition to museums around Scotland presents other opportunities to incorporate family stories into object interpretation. Many partner museums are actively acquiring World War One related objects donated or loaned by local people who have developed a keen interest in their wartime family history due to the Centenary. Consulting these people about the personal value of these objects as tools for learning about and remembering their relatives will be an important way of discovering the continuing significance and impact of the conflict in Scottish families’ lives. Furthermore, museum staff are keen on carrying out co-curation activities with local community groups to collect perspectives of community groups to existing artefacts in the collection. The key challenge will be devising ways of communicating these contemporary interpretations in physical and digital displays alongside the original personal accounts of troops and families during the war.

Find out more about the touring exhibition here.

A guest post by Lydia Beadle (A.K.A Squid), Breitling Wingwalkers’ newest recruit appearing at Scotland’s National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 26 July 2014. Fellow wingwalkers have written blog posts for us in previous years: read what Danielle and Freya had to say.

Scotland’s National Airshow is a spectacular day out for all the family. Aircraft old and new take to the skies for an afternoon of breathtaking aerial displays , including the return of the Red Arrows to East Fortune. Back on the ground you can meet the pilots and explore our hangars at National Museum of Flight. 

Airshow-Digital-ad_leaderboard

Book tickets online here

I developed a need for speed and adrenaline at an early age, probably because I did lots of horse riding as a child.  When I heard about the Breitling Wingwalkers vacancy, I jumped at the chance. Fulfilling my need for speed while creating beautiful displays is something I’ve always dreamed of!

The Breilting Wingwalkers aerobatic display team take to the skies at Scotland's National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014 at East Fortune © Tokunaga

The Breilting Wingwalkers aerobatic display team take to the skies at Scotland’s National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014 at East Fortune © Tokunaga

I was thrilled to get started. I have been amazed at how much work is involved in looking elegant on the plane whilst fighting against 160mph winds! My first flight was in pouring rain and strong winds, but even that didn’t put me off. I had grown up learning to take on any challenges given to me and the thrill of plummeting during the loop made me feel free as a kite. With the extensive worldwide travel and the support of an incredibly close team, being a Breitling Wingwalker is a certainly a dream come true!

Lydia Beadle, Breightling Wingwalker will take part in Scotland's National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014 at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune © Richard Foord

Lydia Beadle, Breightling Wingwalker will take part in Scotland’s National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014 at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune © Richard Foord

One of my favourite display moves is the Mirror, which is when I hang upside down on the inverted plane while reaching for the hands of the wingwalker flying below me. Seeing a girl below you in flight is very surreal and always leaves me laughing at how incredible it is!  Being up in the sky on the beautiful Boeing Stearman aircraft is such an honour.  I feel like a bird in the sky, so free and yet safe

The Breilting Wingwalkers aerobatic display team take to the skies at Scotland#s National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014 at East Fortune © Tokunaga

The Breilting Wingwalkers aerobatic display team take to the skies at Scotland’s National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014 at East Fortune © Tokunaga

I have been in five European shows so far, and they have all left me on a high. I keep a journal for each show I perform in, so that I can remember how amazing each moment was. I’m  looking forward to coming to East Fortune for Scotland’s National Airshow.  Being a natural redhead and having family from Scotland, it will be lovely to come back and embrace my roots once more, especially because this time I’ll be enjoying a different view!

A guest post by Norm Webster, Flight Display Director for Scotland’s National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 26 July 2014

Scotland’s National Airshow is a spectacular day out for all the family. Aircraft old and new take to the skies for an afternoon of breathtaking aerial displays , including the return of the Red Arrows to East Fortune. Back on the ground you can meet the pilots and explore our hangars at National Museum of Flight. 

Airshow-Digital-ad_leaderboard

Book tickets online here

Here we are, less a month to go to Scotland’s National Airshow, and things are sliding into place. As I mentioned last time, we’re never 100% sure of our line-up until the day and there have been a couple of changes since my last blog.

Jet Provost at Scotland's National Airshow, July 2011 by P_rocket on Flickr

Jet Provost at Scotland’s National Airshow, July 2011. Image by p_rocket on Flickr

I have managed to secure the services of Newcastle’s Neil McCarthy and his lovely Jet Provost. Neil is a great friend of the National Museum of Flight, East Fortune and has displayed here many times: he always produces the goods and I am delighted he will be part of the line up for what will be an exciting and varied show.

Royal Navy Sea Fury at Scotland's National Airshow in July 2013

Royal Navy Sea Fury at Scotland’s National Airshow in July 2013

I can now tell you all that the Royal Navy has confirmed the participation of the Sea King and the Sea Fury, so everything is in place and I can now go firm(ish) on the air display plan.  I’ve already mentioned that we are sharing a number of aircraft with the Sunderland show this year, and although this can complicate the planning we have been able to accommodate all the various requirements quite easily.

My next job in the planning cycle is producing the co-ordination plan for Edinburgh Airport, to ensure we don’t cause too much havoc in their already-busy air traffic plot.

Privately owned Westland Wasp at the Classic-Jet Air Show, Kemble, England, in 2003.

Privately owned Westland Wasp at the Classic-Jet Air Show  in 2003, similar to the Westland Wasp appearing at Scotland’s National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014.

We plan to have a couple of helicopters inside the showground this year as ‘live’ static aircraft, and I’m glad to say we will have an ex-Royal Navy Westland Wasp and the OH-6 Loach.  I always think it lends something to an airshow if people can get close to live aircraft and their crews. Crowds will also see the Royal Navy Sea King and Huey helicopters on the other side of the showground fence. The crowd should always have something interesting to look at when there aren’t aircraft actually displaying.  The Squirrel helicopter will also be landing, carrying RED 10, the RAF Red Arrows display supervisor,  Squadron Leader Mike Ling.

Royal Air Force Areobatic Team "The Red Arrows" on Springhawk 2104 at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. © Crown copyright 2014

Royal Air Force Areobatic Team “The Red Arrows” on Springhawk 2104 at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. © Crown copyright 2014

My team is straining at the leash and ready to go. Let’s hope the great weather continues beyond the big day. That’s it for now, over and out…

Norm Webster

Adrienne BreinganBy Adrienne Breingan, Assistant Curator of Scottish History

As Scotland counts down to the arrival of the Commonwealth Games in July the staff at National Museums Scotland have been thinking about how we can document this significant event. Within the National Collection there are already a variety of objects from the Commonwealth Games over the years. These objects have been collected to reflect the contribution of Scotland to the games and represent the 1970 and 1986 games held in Edinburgh as well as the experiences of Scottish athletes.

Commemorative baton of the 1986 Commonwealth Games

Commemorative baton of the 1986 Commonwealth Games used in the Queen’s Baton Relay. Sprinter Allan Wells carried the baton on its last leg of the journey in 1986 and was also the first person to carry the 2014 baton for the Glasgow games.

In the collection we have posters, leaflets and booklets from the games hosted by Scotland as well as batons, medals, commemorative coins and some uniforms worn by the athletes. In 2014 we would like to focus on two areas of collecting. The first is to collect objects that demonstrate the impact of the games throughout Scotland and the second is to document the experiences of a variety of people.

Official poster for the IXth Commonwealth Games

Official poster of the IXth Commonwealth Games in 1970 designed by James Hope. The poster depicts the Edinburgh games logo which incorporates a thistle and a saltire. 1970 was first time the Commonwealth Games logo was modified to include symbols representing the host nation.

Gold medal won by cyclist Sir Chris Hoy at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne

Gold medal won by cyclist Sir Chris Hoy at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. The Scottish team won 29 medals in total in 2006 and 11 of which were gold medals in cycling, shooting, swimming, lawn bowls and boxing.

In order to do this we would like to ask for help from anyone who is involved with the Commonwealth Games this year. If you are an athlete, an official, a volunteer or a spectator we would like to hear about your experiences. One way of doing this would be to keep a ‘Games Diary’. This could be written or take the form of a blog post or a video diary which the museum would then archive. If you would like to take the opportunity to have your memories preserved within the national collections you can find out more about this by reading our fact sheet.

The types of objects we would like to collect could include items such as uniforms, flags and souvenirs. Objects like this will help us to preserve the memories of Glasgow 2014 for future generations and will be made available for research and display. We are particularly interested in objects which have particular stories attached to them. If you have something to donate that you think would be of interest, we would love for you to get in touch. If you have any interesting items from previous games held in Scotland we would also be keen to hear from you. You can find out more about the project here.

stiff-flop-100pxDr Helge Wurdemann, Project Manager for STIFF-FLOP from The Centre for Robotics Research (CoRe) (Department of Informatics, King’s College London) will exhibit the STIFF-FLOP project at Robots Live! on 15 June 2014. Here he explains what STIFF-FLOP is and what visitors to Robots Live! can expect.

Robots Live! is on Father’s Day, this Sunday 15 June 2014 at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune. See sparks fly as competitors from Robot Wars battle it out in the arena, discover new innovations in robotics and solder your own electronic device and meet the engineers shaping our future.

STIFF-FLOP aims to create a robotic arm inspired by octopus tentacles and focuses on the development of soft and flexible surgical robots that can adjust their stiffness as required for a wide range of surgical procedures. These new tools are expected to be inherently safe and as such represent an important step forward in minimally invasive surgery. Up to now this type of surgery has been dominated by rigid, surgical tools that have great limitations when required to bend in order to reach targets behind other organs and are even known to damage healthy organs at times.

STIFF-FLOP

STIFF-FLOP robotic surgical system will be demonstrated at Robots Live! on Sunday 15 June at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune.

Professor Kaspar Althoefer, Director of the Centre for Robotics Research in the Department of Informatics, King’s College London and coordinator of the STIFF-FLOP project says:

With the long term aim of making use of multiple surgical tools modelled after octopus tentacles, we will at some point need to address the issue of multi-structure navigation and coordination.

 

STIFF-FLOP robotic surgical system will be demonstrated at Robots Live! on Sunday 15 June at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune.

STIFF-FLOP robotic surgical system will be demonstrated at Robots Live! on Sunday 15 June at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune.

We are very excited by these developments and hope to model the found reflex mechanisms using computer algorithms and to apply those to multiple soft robots working conjointly to avoid entanglement. We believe that this technology can be developed alongside our work on creating soft, stiffness-controllable robot devices and will find application in the field of robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery.

STIFF-FLOP robotic surgical system will be demonstrated at Robots Live! on Sunday 15 June at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune.

STIFF-FLOP robotic surgical system will be demonstrated at Robots Live! on Sunday 15 June at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune.

The demonstration at Robots Live! will show the entire robotic surgical system consisting of a SCHUNK Powerball Lightweight Arm equipped with the novel STIFF-FLOP manipulator. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the structure of the manipulator and to navigate the bio-inspired arm inside a phantom torso.

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