Researcher Kate Bowell has been looking at how the story of James Watt has been presented to audiences visiting the National Museum of Scotland.
The Museum in Edinburgh is home to a Boulton and Watt engine, which takes pride of place in one of the first floor galleries.
Kate is a Ph.D. student at the University of Edinburgh. She has been examining labels and interpretative text used by the Museum to explain Watt’s story. She spoke about her work at the recent STICK conference in Stirling’s Engine Shed on April 25.
She said – over time – progressive labels used by the museum praised Watt “more and more”. She says: “He becomes not just an inventor, but a genius.” Then “he moves from being a genius to being one of Scotland’s greatest minds of all time …. ”
She also noted that after the 1960s, Watt wasn’t put on “as high a pedestal” by museum staff.
Listen to her talk about her work here.
Kate writes about museums, audiences, experiences, and how they’re all beautifully tangled together (with occasional references to Ryan Gosling and Regis Philbin) at MuseumsAskew.com