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National Museum’s message in a wine bottle

It’s an object all too familiar in our parks and canal paths — an abandoned bottle of Buckfast, the cheap tonic wine associated with teenage mayhem. This context, however, is distinctly alien.

The bottle was to nestle among the cultural icons in a new permanent exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, enjoying equal billing with Moira Shearer’s ballet shoes, Dario Franchitti’s helmet and a Victoria Cross from the Battle of Loos. Or at least it did during my exclusive preview last week. That was before the museum bosses yielded to objections from the wine’s distributors, and withdrew it from the exhibition.

Scotland: A Changing Nation, will still display a can of super-lager, a methadone information leaflet and blood-testing apparatus used by district nurses to check if patients are “clean”. It is the first time the underbelly of Scotland has been documented in such an august setting.

• Full story at the Sunday Times.

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