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Blairs Museum in Aberdeen reopens this weekend

By Kirsty Brown

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The Blairs Museum in Aberdeen will reopen on Friday after an extended period of closure arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Blairs Museum offers a unique insight into Scotland's Catholic history and heritage with spectacular collections spanning more than 500 years located on South Deeside Road in Aberdeen, housed in part of the former national junior seminary.

A special exhibition this year is titled Capparoni and the Papal Court.

It comprises a fascinating set of hand coloured engravings by the artist Guiseppe Capparoni depicting the people of the Papal Court and the religious orders in Rome between 1823 and 1846 (the year in which Pope Pius IX was elected).

These colourful images all clearly depict real individuals and give a lively impression of life in Rome at this time.

Blairs Museum, Aberdeen.
Blairs Museum, Aberdeen.

Commenting on the reopening museum curator Elinor Vickers said: “We look forward to welcoming visitors back to the museum this year and hope that they find our new exhibition, on the artist Capparoni, is of interest.

"It is exciting to be developing our new website which should let everyone, no matter where, enjoy the museum and its collections.

“Guiseppe Capparoni (1800-1879) is an artist who deserves to be better known, whose speciality was his illustrations for a massive series of books on regional and local costumes of the world.

"The museum holds a large selection of his illustrations of the people of Rome.

"He also worked on paintings in the churches of Rome, including various Stations of the Cross and The Holy Family and The Marriage of the Virgin at the basilica church of Sant’ Andrea delle Fratte.

"This church later became the titular church of Thomas Joseph Cardinal Winning.”

A selection of the relics and unusual liturgical items held by the museum are also newly exhibited this year.

The museum will also be displaying all the treasures from the permanent collection, such as the world famous Memorial Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots, the Blairs Jewel, the vestment collection and the Jacobite portraits as well as the cloth of silver vestments of Henry Benedict; Bonnie Prince Charlie’s brother.

This museum has recieved a significant Recovery and Resilience Grant from Museums and Galleries Scotland to develop a new website.

This will enable visitors to see the museum in 3D walk-throughs if they are currently unable to visit.

The new website will host online retail and an online schools programme as well as providing a portal to visitor information, booking and online events, while also bringing together information on all of the collections belonging to the Scottish Catholic Heritage Society.

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