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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. 

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Collections Research

Resources to support the research and interpretation of collections.

Chattel slavery and the slave trade

The Slave Route- UNESCO

The transatlantic slave trade- National Museums Liverpool

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.

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.

African History

​Afro Historyscapes are ​podcasts from the Horniman Museum and Gardens that share the research of their curators, project team and Community Action Researchers to give a fresh perspective on African history.

Decolonising Collections

Natural Sciences Collections Association online conference, 'Decolonising Natural Science Collections'.

Text Mouth Ornament, Papua New Guinea. The string of shells which criss-cross the pig tusks and join the dog’s teeth to the glass beads in a spiral fashion and then to the tusks again, resembles the type of shell adornment created and worn by west coast/southern New Irelanders. Captain Brown, whilst on a whaling ship in the Pacific, acquired this object  in 1837. Now part of the collection of the Museums of the University of St Andrews."
Related guide

Decolonial Practice In Collection Management

Resources for decolonial practice, sometimes referred to as decolonisation, in collection management to reflect the connection between collections and chattel slavery, empire, and colonialism.

Find out more