As Director of Public Programmes, I spend a good deal of time meeting and talking to people from other organisations. The conversation is usually about how we can work together to create an engaging, informative and exciting visitor offer. This could include exhibitions, events and digital content, to name but a slice of our public programme. Developing links internationally and knowledge sharing across museums in the UK and globally is a really important part of our work. This is an element of the job that I really enjoy.
On this occasion, I was delighted to welcome a group of colleagues from the Croatian History Museum, one of the oldest and most important cultural institutions in the Republic of Croatia, founded in 1846. Jelena Hotko, Museum Educator / PR officer and her four colleagues, came to the National Museum of Scotland to see the displays about Scotland and to hear about the work we are doing on the Royal Museum Project.
Our Croatian visitors enjoyed a tour of the Scottish galleries with George Dalgleish, Principal Curator of Scottish History. They also heard about the visitor consultation work we have undertaken to inform the development of the new World Cultures and Natural World galleries, which are due to open in summer 2011. We also talked about our plans to make the collections that are going on display (many for the first time) available through the website.
It was very interesting to hear about plans for a new museum of Croatian History in Zagreb, which is in the early stage of development. Books and catalogues from our respective museums were exchanged; our very popular publication on bagpipes was well received, as was their beautiful publication, entitled ‘Treasures of Croatia’.
Looking ahead, I will be travelling to Shetland Museum in January 2011 for the opening of Lewis Chessmen: Unmasked, our touring exhibition in partnership with the British Museum and the Scottish Government. The exhibition is currently at Aberdeen Art Gallery until 8 January, where it is proving a hit with visitors. I will send a virtual postcard from Shetland.