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Display of Kirk Records Marks 450th Anniversary of the Reformation

The National Archives of Scotland (NAS) have joined with the Church of Scotland and some of Scotland's local archives to mark the 450th anniversary of the Reformation in Scotland and publicise the Reformation's archival legacy - Scotland's church court records. The records of kirk sessions, presbyteries, synods and the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland were deposited in the NAS in 1960 and they are currently cared for by the NAS and by local archives under charge and superintendence of the Keeper of the Records of Scotland. In total they amount to more than 27,000 volumes or more than 5 million pages of information. They are frequently used by historians for academic, local history and family history research but researchers in many parts of Scotland had until now found it difficult to travel to the archive where the records are physically held. Now the NAS and local archives are combining to offer a service whereby researchers will be able to access records for the whole of Scotland in many archives throughout Scotland. The service is being rolled out between December 2010 and February 2011 and it is hoped that more than a dozen local archives, along with the NAS itself, will act as places where digital copies of the records can be consulted. To publicise this new service, a travelling display is starting its travels in October 2010. It features examples from the kirk's records and demonstrations of the online service. The first port of call is Aberdeen, where it will be displayed in the City Libraries on 26 and 27 October and the Union Square shopping centre on 28 and 29 October. From there it travels to Orkney Archives and Highland Council Archives.

Hawick twelfth-century music manuscript

A fragment of a manuscript used by monastic orders during Holy Week was recently discovered by Archive Manager Rachel Hosker and her staff at the Scottish Borders Archive and Local History Centre in the Heart of Hawick centre. It was contained in papers relating to the Rutherford family of Knowesouth, near Jedburgh. Following repair by Gloria Conti, a member of National Archives of Scotland (NAS) conservation team, the manuscript was presented in a hand-cut mount to aid display. The document has been on public display and excerpts from the manuscript have been performed for the first time since its discovery. The manuscript is a fragment from a missal, the liturgical book that contains the texts used by a priest for mass. It also includes the items sung by the choir.

Online Herbal

One of SCAN's participating archives, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG), has created an online digital copy of an eighteenth century book of herbal remedies (RCPSG 1/20/3/1). The volume was one of the earliest volumes digitised by the SCAN project and some of the pages from this first appeared online in the SCAN exhibition on Herbal Remedies but the RCPSG website is now displaying the entire volume, along with transcriptions of each remedy. View the online herbal on the RCPSG website.

New, improved GASHE

Glasgow University Archive Services has just launched a new, improved version of the Gateway to Archives of Scottish Higher Education (GASHE) website, the culmination of an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project. GASHE is an online gateway to descriptions of the records about Scotland's colleges and universities. The records are the primary resources for Scotland's educational, intellectual and cultural history and provide material for a diverse range of subjects. Historians of all disciplines, including family and local historians, will find the resources of immense value.

Scottish Parliament marks success of For Freedom Alone exhibition

An exhibition mounted by the National Archives of Scotland successfully combined the talents of conservators, archivists and scientists in presenting totemic Scottish documents to an audience of around 40,000 visitors to the Scottish Parliament. The exhibition, For Freedom Alone, opened in the Scottish Parliament on Monday 15 August 2005 and ended on Friday 9 September. It featured 3 documents: the Lübeck Letter, of 1297 (the only surviving document issued by William Wallace, the 700th anniversary of whose execution occurred this year); the Declaration of Arbroath, of 1320, and the Ayr Manuscript, the second-oldest surviving text of laws passed in the Scottish Parliament in 1318. The Lübeck Letter was loaned by Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck. The Declaration was housed in a special display case, designed by Dr Shin Maekawa, Senior Scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute, and built by Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.


Presiding Officer and Minister for Parliamentary Business at the Scottish Parliament with the Getty Conservation Institute's Associate Director
George Reid MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament and Minister for Parliamentary Business, Margaret Curran MSP, with the Getty Conservation Institute's Associate Director, Jeanne Marie Teutonico (centre) at a reception in the Parliament on 7 September to celebrate the exhibition.

You can read more about the exhibition and the collaborative project to construct the case in the NAS website.

Perth & Kinross Council Archives Get Lottery Funding for Threipland Papers

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded a grant to Perth & Kinross Council Archives to enable the cataloguing of the Threipland family papers, which were deposited in 1997. The collection relates to the Threipland family and their estates: Fingask and Kinnaird (in Perthshire) and Pennyland and Toftingall (in Caithness). By the end of the project (June 2006) the collection will be fully catalogued and indexed a travelling exhibition will illustrate and the history of the family and important themes in the Threipland papers. For more information visit the Perth & Kinross Council website at www.pkc.gov.uk/archives.

Redevelopment at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

The official opening of the redeveloped reading room and rare books and archives store at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG) took place on March 19th 2004. The redevelopment has resulted in a new air-conditioned and humidity-controlled storage room with enough space for accruals for several years. There were inevitable compromises in reconciling the British Standard on archival storage conditions (BS:5454) with fire-proofing and listed building status, but the new storage area provides easy access to the collections, which are now housed together rather than in separate parts of the building.

Refurbished library and storage at the RCPSG
Refurbished reading room and archive storage
at the RCPSG (photo courtesy of the RCPSG)

New Building for Orkney Library and Archive

The Orkney Library and Archive’s long-awaited move to new premises in Kirkwall finally took place during November 2003 and an opening reception took place on the evening of 8th December.The new purpose-built building occupies the site of the old Orkney Auction Mart in Junction Road and is on two levels. The ground floor houses all the library services and the upper floor the Archives and Local Studies department. There are three permanent storage areas and one Archive Reception room where material can be stored temporarily and processed before finding a permanent home. The upper floor also houses the Photographic and Sound Archives, Orkney Biodiversity Records Centre and the Orkney Room (books, pamphlets and other publications relating to Orkney). The upper floor is also home to Orkney Family History Society and the Orkney Talking Newspaper as well as the schools resource centre and an exhibition/conference/function room.

Orkney Library and Archive
The new building and public searchroom
Photograph courtesy of Orkney Library and Archive