The Scottish Museums Federation recently held a Pop-Up event at The McManus in Dundee to give members the opportunity to see the new exhibition ‘Roman Empire: People and Power’. This is the only Scottish venue that the exhibition will travel to, so if you live in Scotland, be sure to come along before the 10th May!
Curator Christina Donald took our group around the gallery space and gave us a talk on the exhibition process and set up. The McManus was one of several museums that applied to hold the exhibition, but were lucky enough to be the only Scottish venue that was successful. The team set about applying for grants for new display cases to house the exhibits and began working with staff from the British Museum. Christina also gave us a good explanation of the exhibits they chose to display and how they designed the space to incorporate them. Along with the objects on display from the British Museum, objects are also included from The McManus collections, the National Museums of Scotland and Perth and Kinross Museum Service.
The exhibition is designed to explore the wealth, power and organisation of the Empire through religious, military and personal objects. Personally, my favourite objects were the sculptures. The attention to detail and stunning quality really gives pause for thought. I also found it incredible that small items such as coins and pieces of jewellery could be found from this period and still be relatively intact!
The exhibition continues into the next gallery which then leads to The McManus’ current art exhibition ‘Classical Art: The Legacy of Ancients’. This gallery explores the influence of Greek and Roman culture on artwork right up to the twentieth century, displaying a mixture of paintings, sculptures and ceramics. As these objects are from the vast City of Dundee’s collections, this is one of the rare opportunities to see these objects on display.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Pop-Up and the exhibition and I have no qualms in recommending ‘Roman Empire: People and Power’ to anyone who’s considering visiting! I’m now really looking forward to the SMF conference ‘Future Proof? Museums and Sustainability’ in April. Should be fun!