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Portrait Gallery Highlights – by National Galleries Staff

March 15, 2012

“Taking visitors round and finding each gallery as busy as the last.  Seeing queues for the interactive touch-screens and never an empty seat in the café. Marveling at the donor board and all the generous people who made the new Portrait Gallery happen.”
Hilary Burwell
Development Officer

“Looking at all the imaginative drawings and comments visitors make on the Pioneers of Science Postcard activity. It’s fascinating to see what the most memorable TV moments have been since the invention of television, and with the news that  Russian scientists are embarking on a mammoth-cloning project – I can confirm that mammoths also get the public vote for cloning!”
Sarah Saunders
Deputy Head of Education


“On 1st December looking down from the ambulatory, purple flag in hand, waving and cheering like an idiot, I watched the crowds streaming in through the Portrait Gallery front door intently. As eyes lifted upwards towards the spectacular gilded processional frieze and faces widened into beaming smiles I realized that all the hard work had been worth it.”
Lesley Stevenson ACR
Senior Paintings Conservator

“I think it’s safe to say that, for me, the best moment in the Portrait Gallery since our opening is not so much a moment per se but rather a general feel, a vibe if you will, a collection of moments in time all locked together.  I just feel that everything is now running together in perfect synch and it’s pretty amazing to see really, like a big engine made up of many parts all running together to push the whole forward.  It’s pretty inspiring overall to see so many people all pulling together with one aim, that of propelling the galleries forward.”
Alan Hume
Gallery Attendant

Posters for blog

“Best moment? It has to be when our posters arrived, featuring iconic portraits from the Collection and great designs by O Street – so exciting!”
Harriet Baker
Marketing Department

“My favourite moment so far was at the Rough Cut Book Launch back in December, watching John Knox Sex Club perform in front of William Hole’s freshly cleaned mural of St Columba addressing the Picts.”
Richie Cumming
Outreach Officer

“My highlight is the enormous number of friends who have come up to me since the opening to say they’ve visited the Portrait Gallery, it’s wonderful and they can’t wait to come back.”
Anne Backhouse
PA to Nicola Kalinsky

Craigentinny Primary School Choir 1

“My favourite moment was seeing the Farmer Education Suite in use for the first time for a public event – and completely packed with families making exquisite Christmas decorations linked to the miniatures collection.
I also loved the Craigentinny Primary School Christmas concert, which was part of the Festive opening programme. Their professionalism was breath-taking and they managed to get all the people in the Great Hall joining in”
Tricia Allerston
Head of Education

“It’s a great gallery with a good program of events. Meet the Ancestors was brilliant and it was very nice to see young and grown-up visitors enjoying it!”
Greta Casacci
SVS Staff at the PG

“Feeling a flutter of delightful trepidation on approaching the new Ramsay Room – the centrepiece of a top floor suite of galleries – and taking the deepest of breaths at seeing some of Allan Ramsay’s most glorious portraits hung on the subtlest of wall shade, both of which together instantly reflect this particular exhibition’s story of the Scottish contribution to the Enlightenment.”
Imogen Gibbon
Senior Curator Reference Section

“The first reactions from visitors who have not been since it was the old Portrait Gallery are the best, it’s great to get their feedback and to see we got it right.”
Della Milne

“It has been so exciting to hear people talking about how they love the new gallery not just all over Edinburgh but online! To see the reaction and conversation on twitter and facebook – has just been brilliant!”
Miriam Attwood
Press & Digital Information Officer

“It was great to return to the Portrait Gallery for the Friends Christmas Party. A special performance of ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ in the restored Great Hall from Edinburgh Academy’s Chamber Choir, with the statue of Rabbie himself looking on, left hardly a dry eye in the house!”
Mollie Waugh
Database Co-ordinator

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

“It was just great to see the building coming back to life as the public flooded through the doors. History in the making!”
Dr Duncan Forbes
Senior Curator of Photography

“The Portrait Gallery has come alive’ the place is buzzing’ welcoming & friendly staff to make your family visit memorable – nonstop since 1st December 2011.”
Willie Dickson
Duty manager

“It’s great to see people crowding around the Faces & Places screens in the ambulatory playing games and discovering new works. (And I especially love the puffins in the Castaway activity!)”
Kate Amann
Digital Media Officer

John Byrne

“My highlight was meeting the lovely and all round artistic genius that is John Byrne at the opening of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery on 1 December 2011!  I have always admired his art work, whether it be portraiture or plays, but his genuine enthusiasm for the refurbishment and warm personality won me over that day!”
Clare McCormack
Press and Information Assistant

“A highlight I enjoyed was the letter from Professor David Walker, former Chief Inspector at Historic Scotland, who wrote of the “realisation of an impossible dream” after his battles to save the building from the early 1960s, official advice being then that “a much finer building could be created” and that the Portrait Gallery was “grossly over-carved” and “impossible to retain” ”
Robert Galbraith
Programme Manager for the SNPG Project

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Vote here!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2012 5:29 pm

    As an Edinburgh resident, I must say thank you to you all for creating such a great place. I visit the gallery very regularly and always take any visitors I have staying. Its one of the reasons I like to live in Edinburgh and makes me feel proud of Edinburgh.

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