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About the Scheme

Scotland’s Recognition Scheme celebrates, promotes, and invests in Nationally Significant Collections beyond those held in our national museums and galleries. 

Scotland currently has 51 collections that have been Recognised as Nationally Significant, stretching from Shetland to Dumfries and Galloway. The wide variety of Recognised Collections reflect centuries of effort to preserve and interpret our past. Together, they showcase the immense diversity in Scotland’s collections – cultural, social, historical, and geographical. 

Read more aboutScotland’s Recognised Collections.

Find out about the Recognition Scheme application process. 

Download the Recognised Collections brand guidelines. 

An evolving initiative

Our understanding of our world and our history doesn’t stand still. As our ideas of what’s important and significant evolve, so will Scotland’s Recognised Collections. In 2022, South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture’s Sir Harry Lauder Museum Collection became the 51st collection to be recognised as Nationally Signification to Scotland. 

Museums Galleries Scotland has been running the Recognition Scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government since the initiative began in 2006. In 2014, we commissioned the Evaluation of the Recognition Scheme and Fund . The Recognition Fund has since closed. We continue to regularly review how we operate the Recognition Scheme.

Recognition Scheme objectives

Holding a Recognised Collection commits your organisation and your governing body to meeting the objectives of the scheme. Objectives are assessed during Recognised Collection annual returns. The Recognition Scheme objectives are: 

  • to raise awareness and appreciation of the Nationally Significant Collections, maximising their potential to celebrate Scotland’s culture – locally, nationally, and internationally 
  • to ensure the longevity of Nationally Significant Collections by raising standards in collections care and management 
  • to strengthen resourcing for the long term sustainability of the Nationally Significant Collections 
  • to inspire and deliver new forms of access to and public engagement with the Nationally Significant Collections
  • to support holders of Nationally Significant Collections to increase their leadership of and contribution to the sector through innovation, ambition, collaboration, and partnership working 

Applying to the Scheme

Any Accredited, non-national museum can apply to the Recognition Scheme. Your application must clearly show why your collection is nationally significant and also include letters of support from researchers, staff members, academics, and other users of your collection.

You’ll have six months to complete your application. Expert advisers are appointed to review and assess each application. Their report is used in the deliberations of the Recognition Committee to help inform their decision. 

Find out more about applying to the scheme.