EARLY PEOPLE

Client : National Museum of Scotland
Location : Edinburgh
Value : £2.7 million
Completion Date : November 1998

The Early People Exhibition is a narrative on the development of life in Scotland from pre history to the beginning of Christianity, using over 6000 artifacts, ranging from Pictish standing stones to Roman Swords. The exhibition is laid out within a framework which deals with the mechanisms of life rather than its chronology. Lateral interpretation, ambiguous given the level of hard evidence, is cast aside and the objects are left to speak for themselves, willing the imagination to provide the context.
Located in the basement of the new museum and intended to last for 30 years, the exhibition design uses a simple palette of high quality materials in a minimal and timeless manner, which reflect the nature of the surrounding. Bespoke glass cases rest on precast concrete plinths, graphics are read on etched glass and objects are mounted and displayed on cast glass and sand blasted acrylic. This restrained palette allows the object centre stage, with the warranted exception of integrated artworks by Andy Goldsworthy and Eduardo Paolozzi. Lee Boyd worked closely with the curatorial team to develop the exhibition framework and with the conservation department to record and design individual display proposals for each object.