Hello! Great news!

A NEW exhibition, TREASURED showcasing some of the University of St Andrews’ hidden treasures from the past 600 years is now open at the Gateway Galleries, St Andrews. The exhibition will run from the 24th August until 14th December 2013.

The exhibition was created by curators at the Museum Collections Unit at the University of St Andrews. The Museum Collections Unit looks after over 112,300 objects which span 600 years since the University’s foundation in 1413. Many objects featured in the exhibition have not been on public display before. Visitors can see uncovered treasures found in University departments and residences now that’s something to get excited about!

There are many things to interest you from artworks to anatomical models, archaeological finds to ethnographic weaponry, and geological specimens to furniture. Discover where these objects have come from, why the University collected them and the reasons we treasure them. See if these objects fascinate you as much as their collectors, the people who made them or the staff and students who have used them.

gallery view
gallery view

Behind the scenes!

When we started curating the exhibition in April, I was fascinated by everything. I couldn’t help but be astounded by the wide range of objects that the University holds in departments, museum stores, senate rooms; basically in every inch of the University there is a treasure lurking.

Progress got underway by visiting all the relevant departments; Geology, Social Anthropography, Anatomy, Psychology and much more, looking for hidden treasures to excite the public. Once the object list was confirmed, we spent time researching some of the lesser known treasures including Professor Swan’s, wooden mathematical model. Swan was Professor of Natural Philosophy from 1859 to 1880 and created several models of which this is particularly obscure. After researching historic catalogues and discussing with some of the current Physics professors, we are still not sure on its original intent. Is it a model for the centre of parallel forces or something else entirely? Can you tell us? Contact us at

Is it a model for the centre of parallel forces or something else entirely? Can you tell us? Contact us at
resized deer
White-eared Kob, mounted game head

Unexpected Treasures

There are some surprising treasures on display and we reveal extraordinary facts about them are. One is a microscope image taken from the stone on Bishop Kennedy’s Tomb in St Salvator’s Chapel uncovering the mesmerizing tiny sand crystals that form the composite of the stone. And, who knew that Narwhals were said to be the Unicorn’s of the sea. In the medieval period their tusks were widely thought to have magical and curative properties.

fire screen, oak chair and narwhal tusk

Two of the star objects in the exhibition are a pair of embroidered Gauntlet Gloves and a Bible, dating from around 1600, presented by Charles I to Sir Henry Wardlaw, 1st Baronet of Pitreavie, Fife. Sir Henry was a descendant of Bishop Wardlaw who founded the University of St Andrews in 1410-14.

Gauntlet gloves

The gloves are made of pale brown leather with ivory satin cuffs. These are embroidered on both sides with fountains, goldfish, pink flowers and castle buildings using silk and gilt threads. They are lined with salmon pink silk, edged with gold bobbin lace.

An exciting series of events are accompanying the exhibition, including a walking tour taking you behind the scenes to view collections that are housed within University buildings not usually accessible to the public. There will be chances for families and children to get creative at workshops inspired by decorated delft tiles and beautiful butterflies displayed in the exhibition. Arty Saturdays, drop-in crafts, will be held throughout the duration of the exhibition at the Gateway Galleries. For full event details please see

These treasures are part of the 600th anniversary celebrations at the University of St Andrews see for more information on other events happening around St Andrews.

Written by Kirstin Bruges, Collections Trainee


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