Heritage Awareness Day to show heritage is for all

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North-east residents are being encouraged to get up close and personal with their history this year as Historic Environment Scotland (HES) unveils a programme of events and initiatives to show that heritage is for all as part of Scotland’s year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

The organisation is also asking communities to support the heritage and history on their doorsteps by getting involved with the first ever Heritage Awareness Day on October 6, 2017. This Scotland-wide campaign will give friends, families and communities across the Grampian area and beyond the opportunity to raise funds for a cause close to their hearts by dressing up as a historic character, hosting a quiz, or holding another history-themed event.

Alex Paterson, HES Chief Executive, said “The historic environment in Scotland currently attracts 14.6 million visitors a year and contributes in excess of £2.3 billion to Scotland’s economy. As Scotland’s lead heritage body we’re on a mission to up the ante at home and further afield as part of 2017’s themed year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

“We’re off to a strong start following last week’s announcement of a record breaking first – four million visitors to our staffed sites in a single financial year period. Today I’m pleased to unveil a programme of over 100 events, lectures and campaign activity that will engage the people of Scotland with all the work we do.

“We’re also asking people to get involved with the first ever Heritage Awareness Day, coming up on the 6th of October. This will be all about helping people of all ages to engage with their history.

“The themed year provides us with a great stage to bring all the different elements which make up Scotland’s rich and diverse historic environment to audiences like never before. A truly exciting prospect for the months ahead.”

In addition, HES’s packed programme for the year will feature all sorts of events, including living history and brand new exhibitions at Duff House, the opening of the Engine Shed Conservation Hub in Stirling, and Scotland’s first Heritage Festival – History Live on the 30th September and 1st October.

During the course of the year HES will also improve accessibility to its records and sites virtually with a year-long digital engagement project, Archaeology InSites, using social and digital channels to highlight unknown archaeological sites from across Scotland. A series of Facebook Live events is also planned, as is the launch of an international exhibition exploring Romantic Scotland, and pioneering research into both prehistoric rock art, and the effects of climate change on Scotland’s built heritage.

With nine out of ten adults agreeing it’s important that heritage places are well looked after*, HES – which cares for over 300 historic attractions across the country – is aiming to get the nation more engaged with its past than ever as part of Scotland’s themed year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. Scotland’s reputation for heritage and tourism is strong on the global stage, with the current Nation Brand Index ranking Scotland 12 out of 50 nations for being rich in cultural heritage, so there is a great platform to build from.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, commented: “2017 is Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, an exciting opportunity for people from across the country and visitors alike to celebrate Scotland’s inspiring and captivating historic environment.

“We know that Scotland’s history, heritage and archaeology act as magnets for visitors from both home and abroad to come and explore our many iconic sites and hidden gems alike.

“As part of that Historic Environment Scotland’s engaging programme of events offers something for everyone who wish to enjoy our historic landscape, from Neolithic tombs to medieval castles, from historic towns to some industrial wonders.”

HES has produced a toolkit to help people get involved with Heritage Awareness Day. This is available, along with the full events programme for 2017, on the HES website.