Nearly two million visitors a year will pass through the new permanent galleries of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. This article reflects on the planning and collecting that presaged their redevelopment in the context of twenty-first century museum practice in the UK. We focus in particular on two elements: firstly, the fundamental project management work that underpins any development of this kind. Were established methodologies and practices conducive to open-ended, outcomes-based objectives such as research? Secondly, we ask this question specifically in relation to contemporary collecting in art, and in science. How can the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns of contemporary collecting be mainstreamed in project management workflows? What boundaries endure in museum processes and products?
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