National Gallery of Scotland extension delayed

National Gallery of Scotland extension delayed June 17 2022 Picture: SNG And not just delayed, but delayed again. The new galleries (to replace the 1970s space for displaying Scottish art, which resembled a hastily decorated NCP car park) were due to open in 2018, then 2021, and now it's going to be late 2023. The budget has gone up too, from an initial £15.3m, then to £22m, and now they won't say what to (which means quite a lot more than £22m). What's gone wrong? From The Times: The project has involved excavating beneath the building, which dates from 1859, but it has been held up by the discovery of “unexpected remnants” of previous developments, including “deeply buried layers of concrete”, as well as damp penetration and asbestos. All of which is unimpressive, really. Who could have imagined that digging down from a 19th Century building towards a 19th Century railyway line would reveal 'deeply buried layers of concrete'? One wonders again at the ability of the management of the Scottish National Galleries to pull off this project (and to be honest, much else, as long suffering AHN readers may remember). But those looking to be generous, the SNG aren't alone; there is a tendency for museum refurbishment projects to go horribly over time and budget. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp closed in 2010 for a restoration, due to open in 2017. It's still closed, and the latest date is the end of this year. We'll believe it when we see it. Anyway, following the Edinburgh news, I thought I'd check in on the National Portrait Gallery in London, which closed in 2020 for an overhaul, and was due to reopen in Spring 2023. The good news is they're still due to open in 2023, but they won't confirm exactly when. Which suggests a possible delay. But given Covid, I think we can probably forgive them that. (Though I still wish they hadn't closed entirely!)

National Gallery of Scotland extension delayed

National Gallery of Scotland extension delayed

June 17 2022

Image of National Gallery of Scotland extension delayed

Picture: SNG

And not just delayed, but delayed again. The new galleries (to replace the 1970s space for displaying Scottish art, which resembled a hastily decorated NCP car park) were due to open in 2018, then 2021, and now it's going to be late 2023. The budget has gone up too, from an initial £15.3m, then to £22m, and now they won't say what to (which means quite a lot more than £22m). What's gone wrong? From The Times:

The project has involved excavating beneath the building, which dates from 1859, but it has been held up by the discovery of “unexpected remnants” of previous developments, including “deeply buried layers of concrete”, as well as damp penetration and asbestos.

All of which is unimpressive, really. Who could have imagined that digging down from a 19th Century building towards a 19th Century railyway line would reveal 'deeply buried layers of concrete'? One wonders again at the ability of the management of the Scottish National Galleries to pull off this project (and to be honest, much else, as long suffering AHN readers may remember).

But those looking to be generous, the SNG aren't alone; there is a tendency for museum refurbishment projects to go horribly over time and budget. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp closed in 2010 for a restoration, due to open in 2017. It's still closed, and the latest date is the end of this year. We'll believe it when we see it.

Anyway, following the Edinburgh news, I thought I'd check in on the National Portrait Gallery in London, which closed in 2020 for an overhaul, and was due to reopen in Spring 2023. The good news is they're still due to open in 2023, but they won't confirm exactly when. Which suggests a possible delay. But given Covid, I think we can probably forgive them that. (Though I still wish they hadn't closed entirely!)