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Scottish Seabird Centre unveils exhibition plans for national marine centre

Interactive exhibits set to ignite passion for Scotland’s amazing marine life

170214 NMC LG Concept v5 A marine theatre, marine laboratory and stunning observatory are just some of the exciting exhibits which will inspire, inform, entertain and educate visitors at the proposed new marine centre in North Berwick.

 The Scottish Seabird Centre is today (Thursday 7 September) unveiling proposed plans for the key exhibits that would feature in the national marine centre, putting North Berwick at the forefront of marine education and inspiring people to protect and conserve the world’s oceans and marine wildlife for future generations.

 The proposed centre aims to become a must-visit destination as well as offering a high-quality facility for locals. Created in partnership with Event, one of Europe’s leading experience design agencies, the exhibits and attractions have been developed with advice from the Centre’s Marine Advisory Group led by Professor John Baxter, the principle marine adviser for Scottish Natural Heritage, and drawing on expertise from scientists, researchers and academics across Scotland.

 Collaboration is central to the plans, with partnerships being developed across Scotland as well as internationally, highlighting the importance of Scotland’s seas within a global context.

 The proposed exhibits will create an immersive, multi-sensory and dynamic experience, aimed at creating a sense of wonder and discovery. Plans include:

  • Planet Ocean will creatively tell the story of how all life stems from the ocean. Clever use of light and 3D graphics will bring amazing facts to life, helping visitors appreciate that we depend on the ocean for survival and inspire them to help protect it.

  • The Marine Threshold will be an immersive experience using projections of film footage to allow visitors to feel like they are diving under the waves, giving them access to a world they’ve never seen before.

  • The Marine Exploratory will allow people to journey from shallow waters up to the heights of the seabird colonies of St Kilda and the Bass Rock, and then back down to the ocean’s depths. There will also be the opportunity to explore underwater gardens, forests and reefs, as well as finding out more about Scotland’s incredible megafauna including sharks, orcas (killer whales) and dolphins. The Seabird Centre’s popular interactive live cameras will be in this area.

  • The Marine Lab will be an interactive workshop area highlighting the remarkable story of some of the crucial marine research taking place in Scotland to help safeguard the oceans. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage and learn from regular ‘Meet the Scientist’ days and other learning events.

  • The Marine Observatory will focus on the wildlife that surrounds North Berwick. Visitors will experience stunning 360 degree views out to the Firth of Forth and North Berwick Law. There will also be information about the historical significance of the area including the Auld Kirk.

In the plans, the new centre will feature a dedicated children’s area where young visitors can discover a world above and below the waves. There will be hi tech virtual viewing devices such as snorkel masks, diving masks, periscopes or binoculars to see a wide range of different marine life. A 3D Marine Theatre is planned to showcase film footage that will bring the marine environment to life.

 Accessibility is a central part of the plans: those with needs will be fully catered for with diverse displays and there will be the opportunity for visitors to delve into the level of knowledge they want to, as multiple layers of information are presented.

 Grace Martin, project director for the national marine centre said: “We’ve collaborated with some of the most respected people in the marine world to ensure we are creating an informative, inspiring and enjoyable visitor attraction. Our planned exhibits will connect people with the fascinating world of our oceans as well as showcase the importance of looking after them.

 “The aim of the Centre is to engage with all ages, catering for different levels of understanding. We will signpost to other attractions, sources of information and opportunities for citizen science. More in-depth levels of engagement will be available for enthusiasts and repeat visitors, willing to dive deeper, with a changing programme of activities and exhibits.”

Professor John Baxter, head of the Centre’s Marine Advisory Group, said: “There are so many wonders to share, so many exciting stories to tell and so much to learn about Scotland’s seas. The national marine centre will afford all those that visit, glimpses of what is in the seas around Scotland and I’m certain everyone will be hugely inspired by what they see.”

Scottish Seabird Centre

·         The Scottish Seabird Centre is a conservation and education charity, dedicated to inspiring people to enjoy, learn about and look after our wildlife and natural environment.

·         Follow the Scottish Seabird Centre on Facebook/ScottishSeabirdCentre, Twitter @SeabirdCentre and Instagram @seabirdcentre

·         Scottish Seabird Centre, The Harbour, North Berwick, EH39 4SS


·         The Scottish Seabird Centre has been awarded development funding of £290,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to progress plans to create the ‘National Marine Centre’. HLF has also given its initial support for a £3.5million bid for the project. Initial support means the project meets HLF criteria for funding and HLF believes the project has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so this is an endorsement of outline proposals. The project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to secure a firm award.

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