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The unique collection held at the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum at Stirling Castle, which commemorates the service of Oban and West Highland-born soldiers since the 18th century, has achieved recognition as being Nationally Significant to Scotland.
The Argylls’ museum is among 10 regimental museums around the country to have collectively won National Signficance status. The highly-prized recognition of the combined collection’s importance was awarded by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS), the national development body, on behalf of the Scottish Government.
The award provides a major boost to the profile of the much-loved museum, which is embarking on a £2.6 million development project following a fundraising drive under the patronage of Prince William, the Earl of Strathearn.
The announcement last month of the award, marking the 10th year of the MGS scheme, was made by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, and Joanne Orr, chief executive of MGS.
Rob Layden, chief executive of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum, said: ‘This award provides the museum with national accreditation status that will help secure its sustainable future.
‘The endorsement of the Scottish Government enables us to form partnerships that will help encourage visitors to see our unique and fascinating collection for themselves.
‘National Significance status also underlines the historical and cultural value of the collection here at Stirling Castle, reinforcing our case that the regiment’s story is closely intertwined with the history of Scotland.’
As well as the Argylls’ museum, the other collections to be included in the award are those of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, the Royal Scots, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, the Cameronians, the Black Watch, the Highlanders (Queen’s Own Highlanders Collection) and the Gordon Highlanders.
Together the military museum collections tell a crucial part of Scotland’s story, one that is central to the nation’s identity, since before the Act of Union up until the present day.
Ms Orr, from MGS, said: ‘Scotland’s recognised collections represent some of the country’s most diverse and fascinating collections, and reflect centuries of commitment to conserving and interpreting our past.
‘Over its 10-year history, the Recognition Scheme has sought to improve the accessibly and longevity of the collections, as well as the long-term sustainability of the organisations that hold them. The scheme is dynamic, and as our ideas of what’s important and significant continue to evolve, so too will Scotland’s Recognised Collections.’
As well as military material such as uniforms, insignia and weapons, the regimental museums also hold fine and decorative art, rare manuscripts and original photographs. Their combined collection comprises more than 160,000 objects.
The recent centenary commemorations associated with the First World War have underpinned the importance of the collective memories preserved within this collection.