Shetland Museum and Archives Textile Collection is Recognised

Published: November 15th 2013

Fair Isle in natural dyed colours enlarge Fair Isle in natural dyed colours Shetland Amenity Trust is delighted that the Shetland Museum & Archives' Textiles Collection has been awarded Recognised status by Museums Galleries Scotland, under its Recognition Scheme.

The Recognition Committee was impressed by the quality of the application and the considerable evidence provided of the importance of the Collection. They stated that the Collection is comprehensive and portrays the iconic significance of Shetland textiles both for Scots and also internationally; the Committee was unanimous in its agreement that this Collection merited Recognised status. They also advised that given the importance of the Collection, the current levels of investment and curatorial care should be safeguarded into the future.

James Moncrieff, Shetland Amenity Trust General Manager, said, "This award, coming on the back of yet another hugely successful Wool Week and the launch of the new Shetland Textiles book, emphasises the heritage value and importance of Shetland's textiles as a driver for creative business opportunities and promotion of the Shetland brand values. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in achieving this accolade over the past two years in reaffirming Shetland's textiles on the global map."

Fine Lace detail enlarge Fine Lace detail Dr Carol Christiansen, Shetland Museum and Archives Textile Curator added "Our Textiles Collection reflects the importance that woollen textiles played in the economy of Shetland and the lives of families to make ends meet. But it also celebrates the enormous design and technical capabilities of ordinary people, mainly women and girls. They could spin fine woollen yarn or design and knit intricate garments, but they also gutted fish, extracted peat for fuel, tended animals, raised crops and children, often when men were away at sea. Their work became world renown and was traded internationally, yet the garments themselves had humble beginnings, coming from a true cottage industry".

Dr Ian Tait, Shetland Museum and Archives Curator said, "This is absolutely great news, not just for the Museum, but also for textiles enthusiasts all over the world. Shetland textiles are known everywhere as our premier craft, and Recognised status officially confirms this, and I'm delighted that it'll open opportunities to make even more of our fantastic collection. Textile makers past and present deserve nothing less. We're especially glad of the sterling efforts Carol has given to developing the application, which was no mean task."

The Textile Collection becomes one of 41 Recognised Collections of National Significance located in towns and cities across Scotland.

Managed by Museums Galleries Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, the Recognised Collections ensure Scotland's most important collections are identified, cared for, protected and promoted to wider audiences.

Ray Macfarlane, Chair of Museums Galleries Scotland's Recognition Committee, said:

"To gain Recognition status a museum must prove that their collection is of national importance. The Recognition Committee unanimously felt that the Textiles Collection cared for by Shetland Museum and Archives is completely unique – there is no other collection like these anywhere in the world and it is an intrinsic part of Scotland's identity at an international level."

Achieving Recognition status opens up access for Shetland Museum and Archives to Recognition funding from Museums Galleries Scotland. The funding boosts the museums ability to conserve the collection and to explore new ways to deliver their visitor experience.