Na Escócia, museu nacional resgata história dos faróis que orientavam embarcações.
Discover the story of the people who designed, built and operated Scotland’s lighthouses, lighting a safe passage for mariners for more than 250 years.
This exhibition marks the bicentenary of the lighting of the world’s oldest rock lighthouse, the Bell Rock.
Find out more
Take a closer look at some of the star sights of the exhibition and discover how lighthouse technology evolved over the centuries. Uncover the history of our collection and find out what life was like for the lighthouse keepers and their families.
Open: Fri 15 October 2010 – Sun 3 April 2011
Venue: Special Exhibitions gallery, Level 3
The history of our lighthouse
We delve into the archives to discover how our collection was displayed 150 years ago.
National Museums Scotland’s remarkable collection of objects relating to lighthouses was mainly assembled during the second part of the nineteenth century, for display in the Royal Museum building on Chambers Street. At the time, the museum was known as the Industrial Museum of Scotland, before becoming the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art in 1866, and the lighthouse material formed part of a collection that celebrated contemporary advances in science and technology.
The collection on display in the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art
The photograph below shows how the lighthouse collection was displayed in the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art in 1866. Click on an object to find out more about it and see it as it is today.
The collection on tour
The many models in our collection were not just objects of interest, but were used to showcase the groundbreaking engineering achievements of the Northern Lighthouse Board and the famous Stevenson dynasty, who built most of the lighthouses in Scotland and to promote their work with an aim to selling their systems overseas.
Until its eventual transfer to National Museums of Scotland in 1993, the lighthouse collection was owned by the Northern Lighthouse Board. Therefore, before the First World War, as well as being on display in the Museum, the collection was often shown at international exhibitions, as a shining example of British innovation.
The stereo photo below, made by the London Stereoscopic Company, shows a display put on by the Northern Lighthouse Board at the 1862 International Exhibition, held in London. Click on an object in the image to find out more about it and see it as it is today.
So important were the exhibitions that models were often constructed specifically for them, such as this replica of the Tay leading light. This was the culmination of Thomas Stevenson’s attempts to focus all the available light and send it in the direction he wished, and it used every available form of transmitting and reflecting prism.
Seen by over six million people at an exhibition in Paris in 1867, the light was also displayed at the 1876 Loan Exhibition at South Kensington and the 1880 Naval and Marine Engineering Exhibition at Glasgow. In between, it was shown in the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art, and has been on (and off) display ever since. Currently in store, it will figure prominently in the newly refurbished National Museum of Scotland.
The collection today
A selection of objects from our lighthouse collection are on permanent display in the Industry and Empire gallery, which highlights the way in which industry carried the name of Scotland across the globe during the Victorian era.
The Shining Lights exhibition gives us the opportunity to display a much larger selection of lighthouse material from our collection, with objects that have been in our possession for a century and a half ranged alongside more recent acquisitions.
Like the exhibition displays of the 19th century, Shining Lights aims to showcase the ingenuity of lighthouse design and groundbreaking engineering achievements taking place in Scotland at that time. Prepare to be dazzled.