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Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Wednesday, 27 October 2010 15:04 UK
Lighthouse history beams in Edinburgh
Bell Rock Lighthouse
This painting of Bell Rock Lighthouse in 1820 by A MacDonald is on display

A new exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, is dedicated to lighthouses.

The display marks the 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse which takes place next year.

Shining Lights: The Story of Scotland's Lighthouses will be open until 3 April 2011.

The engineers and inventors who designed and built the structures are the focus as are the keepers who operated them.

Giant beacons

The exhibition includes beacons, lenses, giant optics, models and interactive exhibits. There are charts and illustrations dating from the 17th Century also on display.

Rattray Head lighthouse
Rattray Head is one of the lighthouses featured in the exhibition

You can trace developments in lighthouse technology from an Egyptian lighthouse at Alexandria over 2000 years ago.

See replicas of the first 17th Century Scottish lighthouses through to the present day automated system which controls all lighthouses around the coastline from a room in Edinburgh.

Get a glimpse of life for lighthouse keepers and their families. Read Peter Hill's account of his time as a lighthouse keeper on the Mull of Galloway and other outposts around the shore.

Stevenson legacy

The Bell Rock lighthouse, off the coast of Arbroath, was designed by Robert Louis Stevenson's grand-father, and is the oldest rock lighthouse in the world.

Most of the 208 lighthouses around our coast were designed or built by a member of the Stevenson family.

Alison Morrison-Low, principal curator, historic scientific instruments and photography, at National Museums Scotland said: "Shining Lights will be a fascinating account of the history, personal stories, Scottish engineering ingenuity and scientific developments behind these spectacular structures that could take on the incredible forces of nature.

"Lighthouses help protect our mariners and ensure the country's position as a trading nation and I know that our visitors will be fascinated by the revealing stories behind these much-loved landmarks."

Watch the video of lighthouses around Scotland, both on and off shore.




SEE ALSO
A lighthouse keeper's tale
12 May 10 |  People & Places
In Pictures: Lighthouses
12 May 10 |  People & Places
Lighthouses around Scotland
11 May 10 |  South Scotland


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