The National Archives of Scotland Home
A-Z Help Site search
You are in: NAS> Learning> Exhibitions
Thursday 23 March 2017


The National Records of Scotland (NRS) mounts occasional exhibitions in its buildings and at other locations in partnership with national collections and other bodies. NRS also supports external exhibitors by lending documents or providing images from our extensive holdings.
'An Open Secret' exhibition at West Register House

Spreading the Word - the written legacy of the Scottish Reformation

We have joined forces with the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Archive Network and some of Scotland's local archives to mark the 450th anniversary of the Reformation in Scotland by highlighting improved access to the digital images of millions of pages of precious church records. Throughout the autumn and winter our travelling display, 'Spreading the Word', is highlighting these fascinating documents. Research into the kirk session and other church records, which are among Scotland's most important historical legacies, is becoming easier with new local access to all the digitized records.

Aberdeen City Libraries, 26-27 October 2010
Aberdeen, Union Square shopping centre, 28 October 2010
Orkney Library and Archive, 3-11 November 2010
Highland Archives, Inverness, 17 November - 13 December 2010
Stirling Council Libraries, 10 January 2011 - 3 March 2011
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 21-27 May 2011
ScotlandsPeople Centre, National Records of Scotland, 1 June - 8 November 2011
Ayrshire Archives, Kilmarnock and Ayr, 9 November - 8 December 2011
Shetland Museum and Archives, Lerwick January 2012 until 16 March 2012
Other venues, dates to be confirmed for 2012

Admission free

Recent exhibitions

'I have not been idle’ – Robert Burns’s farewell (2010)
This exhibition highlighted an exciting discovery in the National Archives of Scotland: an eyewitness account that sheds fresh light on the character and spirit of Robert Burns in his last days. The letter from his superior officer, John Mitchell, Collector of Excise, tells the touching story of the poet’s visit to collect his salary and bid farewell to his colleagues and friends in the Excise Office in Dumfries in July 1796.

An Open Secret (2009-2010)
An exhibition about changes in government attitudes to record and information closures. Using images of records from the 15th to 20th centuries, it showed how successive governments initially sought to keep information secret and from the public gaze, but later recognised the need to satisfy increasing public demand for freer access. A special feature on the SS Arandora Star and the Italian community in Scotland was added in July 2010, in order to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the sinking of the ship carrying Italian Scots internees in July 1940.

Famous Scots (2009)

The family roots of six famous living Scots were unearthed in turn as part of a rolling exhibition to mark Homecoming Scotland 2009. Rarely-seen original documents, a beginner’s interactive guide, and a film helped tell the stories of our featured Scots: Billy Connolly, Sir James Black, Shirley Manson, Brian Cox, Tilda Swinton and Sir Jackie Stewart. For more information visit the ScotlandsPeople hub website (whose link is on the left side of this page).

Loans from NAS collections The NAS considers requests from organisations wishing to borrow items from our collections for exhibition. Six months’ notice is required. For details visit our exhibition support page.

Privacy statement | Terms of use | Using our site | Contact us | Complaints procedure | Copyright | Back to top
Page last updated: Thursday 26 January 2012

The National Records of Scotland, H.M. General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3YY; tel +44 (0) 131 535 1314; email: