We are very excited to be hosting a unique artwork by Caithness artist Joanne B Kaar in the John Hope Gateway this December. The artwork, which was inspired by historic specimens held in the herbarium at the RBGE, explores how the South American plant, Senicio smithii came to be growing near the artist’s house in Dunnet Head in the north of Scotland.

Portable Museum

Said to have been introduced to Caithness by whalers, and known locally as the ‘Magellan Daisy’ or the `Falkland Islands Daisy’, the plant grows in abundance in Orkney and Shetland. Working with herbarium staff at the RBGE, Kaar looked into the plant’s origins in Patagonia. The result of her research is a ‘portable museum’ – a custom made distressed aluminium box inspired by traditional mariner medicine chests. The box unfolds to reveal multiple drawers and objects which chart Kaar’s explorations into this intriguing mystery.

Kaar’s research on this story is on-going and hopes that this portable museum will unearth new information and inspire future collaborations.

The ‘Portable Museum’ is located in the archive case outside the Real Life Science Studio in the John Hope Gateway until 5 January 2015.