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2nd January 2009 at 00:00

New year - new museum. That's Musa, the Museum of the University of St Andrews. Eight years in development and at a cost of Pounds 2 million, Musa has been created within the extended 19th-century coach house of the university's old school of art history. Overlooking St Andrews Bay, it features a roof terrace with a talking telescope and sundial, four galleries and a dedicated "Learning Loft" with computers and a wet area for art and craft work.

The new museum is home to the university's eight registered collections, totalling some 112,000 artefacts including paintings, stained glass and life masks of the notorious grave robbers Burke and Hare, most of which had previously been in storage. It tells the story of the institution from its foundation in the 15th century to the present day. Visitors can discover what it was like to be a student in the Middle Ages; try out an archery interactive; examine rock pools and archaeological sites in Musa's sunken trench cases and experiment with kaleidoscopes.

Even before the museum officially opened, schools had begun booking visits and Musa's learning and access team had been to a local nursery to discuss opportunities for pre-fives. Rhona Hamilton, learning and access curator, says: "In the two years before the museum opened, we decided to stimulate interest in Musa by holding a Young Artist competition for Fife schools, aimed at nurseries through to S3 pupils and SEN units, using our collections as a starting point. We'll be continuing with the competition for a third year and details will be on the website this month. Schools which can't make it to the museum can still take part by downloading images from the website."

www.st-andrews.ac.ukmusa

T: 01334 462396.

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