Museums & Galleries Edinburgh officially launch Auld Reekie Retoldthe largest collections inventory project ever undertaken in the organisation’s history. Over the course of three years, the ambitious project will see the recording and cataloguing of the collection of over 200,000 objects which are housed in stores and venues across the City, in preparation for a move to a new store where those objects can be safely stored and effectively managed. Nicolas Tyack, Project Manager, spoke with The Fountain about the project in more depth below.

TF: Can you tell us more about this Auld Reekie is Retold project? 

Auld Reekie Retold it the the largest collections inventory project ever undertaken in Museums & Galleries Edinburgh’s history. Over the course of three years, the ambitious project will see the recording and cataloguing of the collection of over 200,000 objects which are housed in stores and venues across the City, in preparation for a move to a new store where those objects can be safely stored and effectively managed. Auld Reekie Retold isn’t solely based on collection management. It will also connect objects in the collection, which has been growing steadily since the 1870s, with people and places in the City, uncovering new stories from Edinburgh and its residents. The project will harness that public and professional knowledge about objects in the collection to share it with visitors, both in person at the museums and digitally throughout the project.

TF: What shape does this take, is it a digital archive or a physical space to admire the exhibition/collection?

Auld Reekie Retold is a project about capturing the stories the city’s collections can tell about the city and its people. We are sharing the highlight stories as blogs, podcasts and online exhibitions, and in due course we will be offering events where people can get hands on with these objects. While COVID-19 restrictions are in place, these events will all take place online.

The stories uncovered by the project will be recorded on our collections database, and the idea is that these can then be used to help inform our future exhibitions programmes. We also intend to put on a number of dedicated Auld Reekie Retold exhibitions as and when the easing of restrictions will allow.

TF: What are your personal highlights included in the project?

See some of the highlight items in the press release and on the project website. One of my personal highlights of project is the rediscovery of two apparently unrelated documents from the 1650s and 1760s. You can find out more on the project website.

TF: What is next for Museums and Galleries Edinburgh, as far as projects go? 

We re-opened the City Art Centre in September, where there are currently four exhibitions. For 2021, two major retrospective exhibitions will look at the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay and Charles H. Mackie. We are working towards re-opening our other venues in the coming months.

Longer term, the work of Auld Reekie Retold will help move the collections from various stores around the city into a single new store.

For more information on the project click here