Behind the scenes;Scottish Heritage
Turner pulls on a pair of white cotton gloves. "I don't exactly add up what everything's worth, but this is the one I have nightmares about." She extracts a small, round phial with a Latin engraving and two spouts at the top. It nestles in her gloved hand. "It is a 17th century object. It is gold. It's the Coronation Ampulla, used to annoint the monarch."
Turner is in charge of a roomful of history. Here is stored the bulk of the exhibits to be displayed in the new museum. They range from the sublime to the ridiculous. On a shelf lies the collar belonging to "Charlie, the last railway horse". Underneath is a grotesque snuff container made out of an entire curly-haired ram's head. Carved chairs and cradles stand bleary under bubblewrap; creels and kists brush elbows with picks and shovels and a perfectly ordinary lavatory. Turner opens another cupboard to reveal ornamental pottery worthy of anyone's ancient auntie.
"It is a never-ending task just keeping track of the objects," says Turner. "Everything is clocked in and out." There are 3,500 objects here, but the museum as a whole has around 3 million. Turner is in the process of documenting them on a database.
Installation of the Museum of Scotland's objects begins on May 5. "I'm getting quite possessive," admits Turner. "It's so nice to be able to open a cupboard and get an object out."