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Museum galleries galore in Edinburgh

Who knew Dolly the Sheep was named after Dolly Parton? This is just one of many revelations for visitors exploring the freshly expanded National Museum of Scotland, which opens 10 new galleries to the public this month to add to an already rambling complex in Edinburgh’s Old Town. In the science galleries you’ll find Dolly herself – not the country and western singer but the sheep, long since stuffed. Two decades ago, she became the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, at the Roslin Institute based just south of the Scottish capital. Dolly counts as one of 3,000 exhibits unveiled or newly arranged as part of the museum’s 150th anniversary. Many of the items are staunchly Scottish, others more far-fetched. In the first category, you’ll find embroidery from Orkney, 11 of the famous Lewis chessmen – carved from walrus ivory eight centuries ago – and displays on telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell, born in Edinburgh in 1847. Non-Caledonian exhibits include the Emperor Napoleon’s silver-gilt tea service, and equipment from the Large Electron-Positron Collider at CERN in Geneva. Taken together, it’s a fitting collection for a city once dubbed the ‘Athens of the North’.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - August 2016
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