Contact Us

Collections Research: Empire, Slavery & Scotland's Museums


These resources have been compiled to support research on the connections in museum collections to chattel slavery, empire, and colonialism. It is a non-definitive list of resources and will be updated. 

Chattel slavery and the slave trade

The Slave Route- UNESCO 

The transatlantic slave trade- National Museums Liverpool 

Why colonial slavery should not be equated with human trafficking (‘modern slavery’) 

‘Research into traces of slavery and the colonial past in the collection registration’ gives guidance for looking for traces of slavery and the colonial past in a collection. 

Slavery and the British Country House- English Heritage 

The Transatlantic Slavery and Legacies in Museums Forum is the first national network of its kind to share current discourse and create a narrative thread to fully represent slavery and its legacies in the UK. 

The Slave Voyages website uses interactive maps, timelines, and animations to document the dispersal of millions of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic world. 

The Runaway Slaves in Eighteenth-Century Britain project has created a searchable database of well over eight hundred newspaper advertisements placed by masters and owners seeking the capture and return of enslaved and bound people who had escaped. 

Read the process and research used in the National Gallery and Legacies of British Slave-ownership research project, which has started to find out about what links to slave-ownership can be traced within the Gallery, and to what extent the profits from plantation slavery impacted their early history. 

Chattel slavery and Scotland

Aspects of the transatlantic slave trade and records in the National Records of Scotland. 

Printed and manuscript resources recording Scotland’s links with slavery at the National Library of Scotland. 

The Legacies of British Slave-ownership from UCL is an extensive database of slave-owners and estates that traces the impact of slave-ownership on the formation of modern Britain. It includes a map with 500+ locations linked to slave-ownership in Scotland. 

Scotland’s links with Caribbean slavery - Prof Sir Geoff Palmer CD 

The history of Aberdeen and North-East Scotland’s links with transatlantic slavery can be found in this resource from the University of Aberdeen. 

A film and panel discussion on “Strike for Freedom” from Brown University that chronicles new efforts to memorialise Frederick Douglass’s abolitionist work in Scotland. 

Aye, It Wis Aabody: A Story Of Scotland’s Role In The Slave Trade is a community heritage project that explores Scotland’s links with chattel slavery in the Caribbean, through the experience of one rural community and their school.  

The Material Legacies of Slavery: Scottish History Zine is a fold out map with information about 11 houses in the Scottish Borders with connections to historic slave ownership. 

Ayrshire And Slavery: Ayrshire Archaeological & Natural History Society is a list of resources, including web links and print material, relating to Scotland’s and Ayrshire’s involvement in slavery. 

David Dale: an abolitionist cotton magnate is an article from the Legacies of Slavery in Glasgow Museums and Collections website exploring one of the most significant Scottish cotton manufacturer’s involvement in abolition and the difference between abolition and emancipation. 

Empire and colonialism 

The ‘Decolonised’ Digital Archive is a resource that recovers the experiences and voices of indigenous actors and communities, which are often overlooked and marginalised in the writing of the history of the British Empire and its aftermath. 

Histories of Colour is an adult learning platform and educational project dedicated to teaching the public about the histories of race relations.  

Stuff The British Stole is a podcast series from Marc Fennell that uses museum items to illuminate stories of politics, genocide, heroism, survival, and justice. 

Punjab & World War One is a searchable database from UKPHA and The University of Greenwich that holds 230,000 records of Punjabi soldiers. 

A short film series that explores the legacies of empire and enslavement in natural history museums, with a particular focus on collections cared for by universities. 

Reading Between the Lines: uncovering racism and homophobia in British history - Dr Anita Naoko Pilgrim, The Open University