Edinburgh hosts first public display of Declaration of Arbroath for 18 years at National Museum of Scotland
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The fragile letter sent to the Pope by Scottish barons in 1320, seeking his recognition of Robert the Bruce as the country’s lawful king, will be on show for free at the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street from Saturday June 3 until Sunday July 2. It will be the first time it has been on public view for 18 years.
It was initially due to be displayed in April 2020 to coincide with its 700th anniversary, but the plans had to be postponed due to the Covid pandemic. The new summer date has been chosen to give as many people as possible the rare chance to see one of Scotland’s most important historical artefacts. The iconic document, which is cared for and preserved for future generations by National Records of Scotland (NRS), can only be displayed occasionally in order to ensure its long-term preservation. It was last displayed at the Scottish Parliament in 2005.
Dr Alan Borthwick, NRS head of medieval and & early modern records, said: “The Declaration of Arbroath is a key document from the formative period of the Kingdom of Scotland. The parchment itself is highly impressive but it’s the stirring language and evocative sentiments contained in the text that have given the Declaration of Arbroath its special distinction, in Scotland and around the world.”
And Alice Blackwell, senior curator of medieval archaeology and history at National Museums Scotland, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to display the Declaration of Arbroath here at the National Museum of Scotland. It is a hugely significant document and a vital piece of Scotland’s history. We look forward to welcoming many visitors to enjoy the rare opportunity of seeing this iconic document close up.”
The Declaration of Arbroath will be displayed at the National Museum of Scotland from June 3 until July 2. Admission is free. The exhibition will be in Gallery 2, Level 3, from 10am until 5pm daily.