2017: Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

Museum Studies students tell us about their exhibition and how it links with the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology:

2‘The Scottish Government has designated 2017 Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, which lined up perfectly with the exhibition theme of the ‘Scottish Warrior’. It gave us a fun challenge to figure out how we wanted our exhibition to fit into the overall theme of the year. But first, we had to figure out what exactly the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology meant. This year is all about celebrating the richness of Scotland’s past; the country has an intriguing history, demonstrated through the range of historical sites dating from the Neolithic through to the twentieth century.  As a student exhibition team, we decided to take a more critical approach to Scotland’s past and we chose to examine the origins of the idea of the ‘Scottish Warrior’ and how that image persists in modern day.

Just take a moment to think about these questions: when you think of ‘The Scottish Warrior’ who or what do you see? Are there words or phrases you would associate with a Scottish Warrior? As a class we have discovered that there are many influences and stereotypes surrounding the term. A few that immediately spring to mind are historical figures such as William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, large scale battles such as Culloden and Bannockburn, and popular culture representations such as Braveheart and Outlander. As a team we have constantly had to question how these influence our own perceptions and how we can avoid stereotyping the past while still celebrating the vast and impressive history of the Scottish warrior.


The Jacobite imagery on this pistol, still recognised today, is just a small part of the rich history that Scotland has to offer.

Our research has demonstrated just how far the influence of ‘The Scottish Warrior’ has spread across the tourist industry and Scotland’s popular culture. We’ve realised that it is important to understand the origins of the image so that we can better understand modern Scottish identity. While curating this exhibition, we’ve enjoyed seeing the wide range of interpretations of the Scottish warrior, from our own imaginings to gross caricatures to the more realistic.


Join in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology by visiting our exhibition, opening 13 June 2017, and checking out other events and exhibitions in the area. Keep checking the blog for more about the exhibition and the process behind it! #UoAScottishWarrior’


About uoamuseums

The University of Aberdeen's Museums include King’s Museum and the University's Zoology Museum. The museums can claim to be Scotland's oldest, with records of museums and collections as far back as the late 17th century. Thanks to their status as a Recognised Collection of national significance, the Zoology Museum’s displays are currently being improved, while King's Museum hosts changing exhibitions drawn from across the collections, particularly those formerly in Marischal Museum. Visitors are warmly welcomed to the museums, and there are no charges for admission. Marischal College now houses the Museums Collections Centre, caring for and conserving many of the collections.
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