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Ship Model Collection to be seen at The McManus as never before

The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum have given a behind the scenes glimpse of a web-based app which will celebrate Dundee’s rich maritime hertitage and show Dundee’s ship model collection in a completely new way. The web-based app will offer unprecedented access to one of the museum’s most popular collections.

Featuring on the web-based app will be the entire the ship model collection displayed together for the first time alongside the museums significant collection of Dundee based maritime art. The ship model collection features various types of models from sailing ships to war ships to kayaks. These vary from those made by both professional models makers for the Caledon Yard and others constructed by keen local amateurs. Each object will be fully researched, photographed and digitised.

Curators at the heritage attraction are very excited to be working in partnership with Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) on the project. Robert Jackson, Malcolm Finnie and Sarah Smart of DJCAD are digitally interpreting each of the models through a mixture of 3D scanning and 360 ° visualisation. The web-based app will add a significant new layer of interpretation to both the models on display and those in store. Working on this element of the project are researchers Dr. Jeannie Cooper and Dr. Andrew Jeffrey who are delving into the history of the collection and creating the content for the resource.

Julie McCombie, Curator at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum said

“Ship models have always played an important role in the museums displays across our venues. However, we have never been able to display the whole ship model collection together in any kind of format. In 2017 we successfully launched the Maritime Quarter at The McManus housed within our Dundee and The World gallery, its centre piece being a bespoke ship model case featuring 34 of our finest models.”

“This project is the first time that this area of the collection will have been researched in this way. A significant amount of fact-finding is being created as they discover hidden and previously unknown histories - exploring Dundee’s role as a major Scottish sea port, celebrating the shipyards that built the ships, honouring the crews who sailed them across the world and exploring the dramatic events they were caught up in. We hope that the new web based app will allow us to share with our visitors Dundee’s important maritime heritage, a part of the city’s story which is sometimes overlooked.”

“There is a strong sense of enthusiasm, ownership and engagement about this area of the city’s history and the ship model collection. It only feels only right that we can now share these histories with our visitors both in the museum and online. We hope that it will open up one of the museum’s most significant collections to the public in a whole new light.”

Lucy Casot, Chief Executive Officer, Museums Galleries Scotland said

"We are delighted that Museums Galleries Scotland’s investment could support an innovative project of this nature and are pleased to hear that the project is nearing completion. This web-based app will open up access to one of the most significant collections at The McManus, part of one of Scotland’s 49 Nationally Significant Collections, as well as allowing the public to view museum collections in a completely different, exciting way”

Robert Jackson, Digital Making School Support Specialist at DJCAD said

“It’s really interesting to be involved with digitising the McManus ship model collection. Producing an online archive of the models will be a great resource to see ships that may usually be in storage or on display elsewhere. Malcolm and I are enjoying the challenges of scanning and photographing the wide range of models and are looking forward to releasing the data to the public.”

The project is supported by Leisure & Culture Dundee, Museums Galleries Scotland, Walter Craig Charitable Trust, The Alexander Moncur Trust and The Dundee City Council Common Good Fund.

The web-based app will be launched in the spring of 2020 and will be available at the McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum as well as online.