Story of lighthouses is feature of new exhibition

18 February

A fascinating new exhibition that looks at the ways the coast is marked, from fog horns to lighthouses warning ships of rocks and dangerous waters, has opened at Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Shiprow.

Sea Marking has been co-curated by Aberdeen Maritime Museum and The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.

The exhibition tells the story of Scotland's lighthouses, their reasons for existing and the life of their keepers. Many of the objects in the exhibition have never been on display before.

Sea Marking includes four distinct sections:
- 'Wrecked ' shows the danger of the Scottish coastline;
- 'Sound signals' shows the use of noise for marking;
- 'Lights' give an idea of the different sizes and shapes of the lights and the lenses that make the light run;
- 'Life at Lighthouse' includes film footage of ex-lighthouse keepers sharing their stories.

The exhibition includes footage from the recent BBC documentary 'The Lighthouse Stevensons'.

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses tells the unique story of the lighthouses set up around the coastline of Scotland, the feats of engineering it took to build them and the stories of the people who manned them. The collection at the museum numbers over 100,000 artefacts, images and archives and only a small percentage can be displayed in Fraserburgh at any one time.

Aberdeen City Council's Convener of Education, Culture and Sport Callum McCaig said: "This joint exhibition utilises the resources of two very impressive museums to highlight the unique maritime heritage of the region. I am sure that this fascinating display will offer visitors to the museum the opportunity to learn a great deal about sea marking and the people behind the process of protecting ships around our shores."

Joint curator of the exhibition Meredith Greiling said: "Lighthouses conjure a romantic image of the lone keeper pitted against the forces of nature. This exhibition captures some of that romance but takes the visitor inside the lighthouse to meet the extraordinary men who lived and worked in them, as well as looking at other methods employed over the centuries to warn ships of the dangerous coast. We are very grateful to The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses for sharing their outstanding collections with us."

Virginia Mayes-Wright, Director of The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, added: "We are delighted to be working again with Aberdeen Maritime Museum in this 200th anniversary year of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. We strive to make our collections available to as wide an audience as possible and we hope that this will be one of many more joint projects we can work on."

Aberdeen Maritime Museum and The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses have previously worked in partnership together. Last year [20 November 2010 – 30 January 2011] the first joint exhibition was 'Life on the Rocks', which showed a fascinating display of photographs by acclaimed photographer Keith Allardyce.

Sea Marking runs until Saturday 21 May 2011.