In early June National Museums Scotland and Nevis mounted exhibitions on Iona’s early monastic community at Iona Abbey and the Oban Ferry Terminal (later to travel on to the Lismore Heritage Centre). The exhibitions, sponsored by Highland 2007, Columcille and Argyll & Bute Council, were put together on a short lead time to coincide with a music festival on Iona and the loan of a facsimile of the Book of Kells from Kells Town Council to Oban.
In addition to a facsimile of the Book of Kells, the Iona Abbey display uses material from excavations in the area of the early monastery. It features material illustrating craft activity supporting the life and work of the monastic community – metalworking to produce elaborate pieces used during the liturgy; wood-turning to create turned wooden bowls; and leather-working to make shoes and other items.
There is also some pottery fragments from the Mediterranean and western France to illustrate the wide-ranging contacts of the early monastery. The material is displayed in cases provided by Click-Netherfield. The graphic panels are dual purpose. They provide introductions to the displayed material but they are also designed to act as free-standing information panels once the objects return to NMS.