Today, a campaign to celebrate The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum’s 150th Anniversary got underway with the unveiling a spectacular image of the ‘Tay Whale’ and ‘Waldella, Dundee’ by David Batchelor wrapped round a double decker bus. The bus design provides a precursor to the full McManus 150 programme and the official anniversary on September 12, 2017. The team at the gothic revival style building will be focusing throughout the year on the important role Dundee’s best loved building has played, past and present as a major cultural attraction.
Highlights of the McManus 150 programme will include a bespoke show ‘Museography: Calum Colvin reflects on The McManus Collections’. The museum’s Learning & Engagement Team will lead the People’s Story, an ambitious outreach project that will explore the relationship between Dundee’s diverse communities, the museum and its collections. There will also be a weekend of celebrations for the Festival of Museums in May and the much anticipated opportunity for Dundee’s Ship Models to be put on permanent display.
The design for the bus wraparound features The Tay Whale, which has transfixed generations of visitors to the museum. The mammal was the humpback whale that swam into the Firth of Tay of eastern Scotland in 1883 and whose skeleton is now displayed in the ‘Making of Modern Dundee’ gallery. The bus also features a striking image of ‘Waldella, Dundee’ by David Batchelor. Commissioned from a series of works with strings of lights which illuminate plastic containers, it has been a key exhibit since the museum was redeveloped and reopened in 2010. The inspiration to feature the whale on the bus came from visitor assistant John Abercrombie and was produced by designer, Vicki Low. Pupils from St Ninians Primary School in Dundee helped launch the bus on their visit to the museum.
Bob Duncan, Chair of Leisure & Culture Dundee said
“With 150 years of history, The McManus has brought so much to the city over the years and we are very lucky to have it on our doorstep. It is right then that 2017 is going to be a real celebration of the building, the city’s collections and the people who have shaped it. This of course includes the thousands of visitors who visit every year. I am looking forward to spotting this bus around the city and enjoying what will be an exciting McManus 150 programme of exhibitions and events.”
John Abercrombie, Visitor Assistant said
“The Tay Whale is one of the most iconic pieces in the collection, so it is fitting to have it help celebrate our 150th anniversary. It’s remembered fondly by generations of Dundonians. Grandparents who remember seeing the whale when they were young, now bring their grandchildren into the museum to see the whale. It came into the collection in 1884, making it almost as old as the museum itself.”
The bus will operate on a number of Xplore Dundee routes throughout the year and the public are being encouraged to upload images of the bus on social media using the hashtag #McManus150.