Argyll and Bute Council and Argyll Estates have received a grant of up to £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting three-year joint project to catalogue, conserve and digitise 64 Argyllshire family and estate archives.
The “Written in the Landscape” project, which will run from January 2016 until December 2018, will see the most fragile items in Argyll Estates' collection of historic maps and plans being cleaned and repaired before being digitised.
It will also create jobs for two project archivists, who will catalogue the archives so they can be accessed and understood by researchers. They will work closely with local heritage centres to identify records of greatest interest to local communities and develop a training and mentoring scheme. The project will also offer opportunities for people to develop their personal skills by volunteering in Argyll Estate Archives, the Council archives, or from their own homes.
A series of open days, tours, talks and exhibitions to promote the archives will also be delivered and a leaflet and online guide will be created which will provide information about the family and estate archives of Argyll.
Welcoming the news, the Council’s Policy Lead for Community and Culture, Councillor Robin Currie said: “This is wonderful news. Family and estate archives are unique and invaluable resources for investigating Argyll’s rich cultural, built and natural heritage. The archives represent nearly eight hundred years of local and national history.
“Until now much of this history has been locked away and unavailable for research. Once this project has been completed, researchers from ancestral tourists to academics will be able to access this fantastic resource to learn more about our ancestors and the routes their lives took.”
The Duke of Argyll said: "We are delighted to be part of this exciting project which will support the opening up of our archive to researchers and local communities.”
Lucy Cast, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland said: “Saving our historic archives has never been more important. They provide such a valuable resource for anyone who wants to delve into their past. Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund is able to support projects such as Written in the Landscape that will enable volunteers and the wider community to learn about what life was like and how that has shaped who we are today.”
The project will run from January 2016 until December 2018 and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Argyll and Bute Council Archives, Argyll Estates, Tiree Community Windfall Trust, An Iodhlann, Inveraray CARS, Clan Campbell Education Foundation and private donations. Some additional partnership funding is needed to complete the funding package of £300,000, which should be secured by the end of this year.