Dr Katie Eagleton, Director of Museums
A new University Museum
St Andrews was Scotland’s first University and there have long been artworks and collections displayed in spaces across the campus. A dedicated University Museum was set up in 1838 in Upper College Hall, but by 1912 it had outgrown that space and the collections and displays were moved to the newly-built Bell Pettigrew Museum. Almost 100 years later, the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA) opened on the Scores, but within a decade it, too, had reached capacity and needed to be expanded and extended.
Since 2018, the Museums team have been working on a major project that builds on 10 years of success as MUSA, but also takes the opportunity to reimagine our work and our approach to it. When it reopens in spring 2020, the Museum will have four new thematic galleries, a temporary exhibitions gallery, and new and renewed spaces to welcome visitors and expand our events and programmes.
Marking this transformation, we decided to change the name from MUSA to the Wardlaw Museum, after Bishop Henry Wardlaw, who played a critical role in founding the University of St Andrews. In 1413, Wardlaw secured a document from the Pope that officially marked the foundation of the this as a university – this Papal Bull, which arrived in St Andrews to much celebration in 1414, will be one of the star objects when the Wardlaw Museum opens. It reflects the 600-year history of the University, but will be displayed alongside contemporary objects and artworks that remind us that this is an ancient university that has always looked to the future, and always been groundbreaking.
We’ll share more details of our upcoming exhibitions and events programmes on our blog and website, as well as stories and features about objects in our collection that will be on display.
Join us from Spring 2020 to celebrate the opening of the Wardlaw Museum!