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About Empire, Slavery & Scotland's Museums Resources


Welcome to the Empire, Slavery & Scotland’s Museums Resource section. These resources support, inform, and ask questions of the work of the Empire, Slavery & Scotland’s Museums project. This project, sponsored by the Scottish Government, will make concrete and sustainable recommendations to Scottish Government on how Scottish museums and galleries can better address the legacies of chattel slavery, empire, and colonialism at every level.

The resources collated in this section are a non-definitive list suggested and created by those working in the areas of chattel slavery, empire, colonialism, and anti-racist practice in museums and galleries. As we work to support museums with this work, this resource will continue to grow.

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What We've Been Looking At This Month

This last month we spoke at the Scottish Heritage Social Media Group (SHSMG) about handling social media as part of ESSM and creating shared resources with the sector as part of a wider approach to embedding anti-racist practice in Scottish museums. There was great discussion at the event and a blog will shortly be following it. In July SHSMG are running an event with Jenny Downes, Public Programme and Exhibitions Manager at the University of Aberdeen about handling social media content and press for potentially political or high profile announcements.

As ESSM moves forward and we become better informed from conversations and research we are continually assessing the language we use to speak about it. As such we will now use the term chattel slavery with ESSM. This transcript of a Slavery Remembrance Day memorial lecture by Dr Molefi Kete Asante explains the ideological origins of chattel slavery.

About The Images Used In The Resource Section

During the creation of the ESSM resource section we spent time thinking about how we could visually show the connections that museum collections and spaces have to chattel slavery, empire, and colonialism. We are aware that objects seen without interpretation on our website could perpetuate the issues of objects seen in museums without the context of their histories and ways into museum collections. Through consultation with those working with museums and decolonial practice we have decided to show museum items with captions that acknowledge more of their history than may previously have been exhibited in a museum. Through our work with the sector to create these images we hope that this sparks further discussion and consideration of the interpretation of collection items.

Further information

We welcome feedback and suggestions of resources that you have been using to inspire and inform your work. Please email ESSM Project on 

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Book with text "Prayer Book The description inside says the book was ‘Obtained’ by Lieutenant Thomas Turner of the 26th Cameronians Regiment from an unnamed Abyssinian leader during the Abyssinian Campaign of 1867-68.From the Low Parks Museum Collection.Known as ‘The rape of Magdala’, the capital city of Magdala in Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia) was looted and then destroyed by British forces. There was a mass auction afterwards where the looters could sell their pieces to the highest bidders.
Related guide

Glossary And Sector Terms For Empire And Slavery

This page contains resources that look at the language of chattel slavery, empire, and colonialism and how it has been used in museums and galleries.

Find out more