Gairloch kilt socks were made by tenants after their lairds set up work schemes in the face of the 1840s potato famine. PIC: Jim Dunn/Gairloch Museum.

From the humble to the haughty - a history of the Highlands in clothes

It features handwoven socks sold to stave off famine to a silk ballgown decorated with beetle wings and a thick waistcoat said to have been worn by Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Garments held by 14 museums across the North have been brought together in a new virtual exhibition - Highland Threads - which weaves together elements of Highland history, from poverty, endurance and emigration to aspiration and the Empire.

The virtual exhibition showcases a treasured costume from each museum's collection alongside stories of the people who made the cloth, who wore the clothes and where they were produced.

Launching on April 1, the exhibition - which has been devised as the pandemic keeps small museums without vital income - can be found at


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