Recognised Collections of National Significance logo

From the Whaling Collection at Dundee City Museums to the Miners’ Library collection at Wanlockhead’s Museum of Lead Mining, Scotland has some fantastic collections that are of national and international significance. This is in addition to the collections of the national museums and galleries.


The Scottish Government initiated the Recognition Scheme in 2007 to showcase the treasures that demonstrate the nation’s identity and diversity. The Scheme’s main purposes are to highlight the collections and to widen access for more people to enjoy them by providing funding for improvements.

The Scheme is managed by Museums Galleries Scotland and you’ll find more information about the Scheme, and the answers to most of your questions, in this section.

Evaluation of Recognition Scheme and Fund 2013/14

In 2013 MGS commissioned DC Research to undertake the evaluation of the Recognition Scheme and Fund.  The executive summary and the full report are now available, along with the Recognition Committee’s response.

Museums Galleries Scotland is proud to administer the Recognition Scheme and Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government. Through this process, we formally recognise and invest in collections of national importance in non-national museums and galleries in Scotland.  From the chair in which Burns wrote his last poems to the world’s oldest national football trophy, from the Singer sewing machines of Clydebank to the intricate colourful Celtic designs of George Bain at Groam House, these collections represent the best that Scotland’s museums have to offer.  Together, they form a distributed national collection of immense cultural, social, historical and geographical diversity. 

Since 2007, 46 collections have been Recognised. The intention of Museums Galleries Scotland in commissioning this research was to chart the development of this Scheme, and identify the specific impacts which both the Scheme and Fund have supported. We also sought recommendations in how to take forward the future development of the Scheme and Fund. 

We welcome the social and economic impacts identified in the report, the learning shared by Recognised and non-Recognised collections, and the clear recommendations with which to strengthen the Recognition Scheme.  We would like to thank everyone involved who contributed so thoughtfully to the research process conducted by DC Research. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government, the Recognition Committee, Recognised Collections and the wider museums sector to take forward actions following on from the recommendations.

The collections deemed to be of national significance will continue to evolve – our understanding of our world and our past does not stand still. As ideas of what is important and significant change over time, new collections will be added to the Scheme.  The Recognition Scheme and associated Fund gives us a valuable touchstone by which we identify our collective culture, and we look forward to supporting its continuing evolution.


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