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December 4, 2009

Four years ago Martyn Wade, the Chief Executive and Librarian of the National Library of Scotland, and I signed a formal Partnership Agreement to help the Library and the Portrait Gallery work closer together. It was aimed to cut out bureaucracy and increase co-operation at every level across both organisations. It has been far more productive than I had dared imagine. For instance, we have helped the Library promote their campaign to secure the fabulous Murray Archive for Scotland and we have organised three joint exhibitions. Another aspect of closer working is our occupation of Baden Powell House at 3 Victoria Terrace. We rent this from the National Library and we use their excellent café (just yards away) as our ‘common room’.

Last Friday we held a party in the Library to make sure that the Portrait Gallery curators and Education staff get to know their colleagues in the Library. It was a jolly evening. Obviously some I know well, others by name only. When we reopen in exactly two years time we want to be thinking of the curators and resources of the National Library as complementing our own staff and collection. Then we really will have established a true partnership.

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