A NEW permanent thematic display featuring objects from the National Library of Scotland's extensive collection is set to open to the public on Friday.

Treasures of the National Library of Scotland will feature an array of objects; from printed books to video installations, maps and medieval manuscripts to passports and letters, the changing display will provide a unique insight into Scotland’s history, culture, people, and place in the world.

The exhibition opens to the public on Friday 25 March and will feature work from the breadth of the National Library’s collections. Some displays will be refreshed every six months to explore the many facets of the library’s archives.

Entry to the Treasures exhibition is free of charge, and suitable for all ages, with text in English, Gaelic and Scots. It will be open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30am to 7pm, on Wednesday, from 10am to 7pm, and Friday and Saturday, from 9:30am to 5pm.

The National: Conservation Exhibitions Specialist Ryan Gibson installing the Iona Psalter | Credit: Neil HannaConservation Exhibitions Specialist Ryan Gibson installing the Iona Psalter | Credit: Neil Hanna

As well as the physical exhibition, Treasures will have a dedicated space on the library website, featuring items that have been part of the exhibitions, blogs and video content.

The newly updated individual showcases within the Treasures exhibition space are interspersed with interactive displays, localised audio tracks, archival film footage and specially commissioned new writing and film in partnership with Neu! Reekie!

The displays include The Iona Psalter, dating from between 1180 and 1220. It is a highly decorated devotional text and contains sacred songs, known as psalms.

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It also features a letter from Robert Burns, containing one of the Bard's most well-known love songs, on long-term loan from the National Galleries of Scotland. Burns wrote what he thought would be the last letter to his "Nancy" in December 1791. Within the letter, he included his heartfelt song of parting, Ae Fond Kiss.

The library holds one of the world’s largest collections of Scottish Gaelic printed books and manuscripts, and the exhibition will showcase Gaelic medical manuscripts about pharmacy and remedies, dating from the 15th century, belonging to James Beaton of Dervaig on the Isle of Mull.

The exhibition also includes The Lyon in Mourning – an account of the 1745 Jacobite rising, compiled by Reverend Robert Forbes.

The library has the largest collection of maps in Scotland, covering all parts of the globe and all eras of mapmaking, from early atlases to digital mapping. Timothy Pont’s maps became the primary source material for Scotland’s first atlas, produced by Joan Blaeu at Amsterdam in 1654, and will be on display.

The written word has played an important role in the efforts of humankind to control and understand the world, and the collection features travellers’ tales, including that of Isobel Wylie Hutchison (1889-1982), who was a Scottish solo explorer, botanist, artist and writer.

The National: Head of Rare Books Helen Vincent with the library's copy of the Gutenberg Bible | Credit: Neil HannaHead of Rare Books Helen Vincent with the library's copy of the Gutenberg Bible | Credit: Neil Hanna

Like his father and grandfather before him, Darwin studied medicine in Edinburgh. On the Origin of Species was the culmination of more than 20 years of work and had its roots in ideas that Darwin had begun to formulate during his time at the University of Edinburgh, from 1825 to 1827.

1250 copies of the first edition were printed and sold out immediately. This volume was the publisher’s file copy, displayed in the exhibition with a letter in which Darwin outlines the chapters in the book.

There will also be a letter from Ludwig van Beethoven to George Thomson on display. Beethoven and Thomson corresponded with each other from 1803 – resulting in the unique sound of a Scottish song with a classical Viennese accompaniment.

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The National: Robert Burns: Blackie & Son, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. Engraver Robinson, Henry, active 1827-72Robert Burns: Blackie & Son, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. Engraver Robinson, Henry, active 1827-72

Other objects featured are books bound in traditionally Scottish bookbinding styles, such as Herringbone binding and Wheel binding, material which represents the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum, and early printed books such as The Gutenberg Bible, as well as the work of Jackie Kay, the 2016 Scottish Makar.

Amina Shah, chief executive and National Librarian, said: “As guardian of the nation’s published and recorded memory, we have an unparalleled collection of materials.

"The Treasures exhibition gives people a glimpse into the vast collections – many of which are typically stored among the multiple floor levels beneath their very feet. We’re excited to launch this much-anticipated exhibition, which will provide visitors with unique insights into Scotland’s story, and its place in the world.”

"The Library is grateful to the donors who made this exhibition possible namely Garfield Weston Foundation, Hugh Fraser Foundation, National Library of Scotland Foundation, Sir Boyd Tunnock, Jeffrey Jay and Mike Lampert."

The National Library of Scotland is a major European research library and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Scotland and the Scots, with collections of international importance including rare books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, music, moving images and official publications.

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The library holds more than 30 million physical items dating back more than 1000 years, as well as a growing library of digital material. Every week, the library collects around 5000 new items.

Most of these are received under Legal Deposit legislation, allowing the library to claim a copy of everything published in the UK and Ireland (from children’s books to science journals, election leaflets to magazines and websites).

Find out more on the exhibition's website, www.nls.uk/treasures.