Scotland's historic ‘declaration of independence’ to go on public display

A programme of events to mark the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath - Scotland's historic proclamation of independence - is to take place this year, it has been announced.
The Declaration of Arbroath is to make its first public appearance in 15 yearsThe Declaration of Arbroath is to make its first public appearance in 15 years
The Declaration of Arbroath is to make its first public appearance in 15 years

National Records of Scotland (NRS) and National Museums Scotland have announced a programme of public events to mark the anniversary, including its first public showing in 15 years.

The centuries old document has been cited as an inspiration of the American Declaration of Independence and was submitted to the Pope setting out Scotland's independent status in the years following the Battle of Bannockburn as the country sought to establish its sovereignty.

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It comes as Scottish independence continues to dominate Scottish politics with Nicola Sturgeon seeking to hold a referendum on the issue this year.

SNP Parliamentary Business and Veterans Graeme Dey said: “I welcome these events as part of an exciting anniversary year in which we will celebrate this amazing document with the people of Scotland, and with visitors from around the world.

“The Declaration of Arbroath is a unique historical record and is of huge importance to Scotland as a whole, but particularly to the town of Arbroath itself.

“I’ve been pleased to discover how many people of Scots descent worldwide have a great understanding of the document’s significance.”

The first public display in fifteen years of the Declaration will happen at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh from 27 March to 26 April.

In addition, there will be talks by academics, historians and an artist, including Head of Medieval and Early Morning Records Alan Borthwick and the writer and historian Fiona Watson as part of the NRS programme.

A discussion with historians and archivists will also be chaired by curator Dr Alice Blackwell of National Museums Scotland. There will also be a drop-in event with family craft activities at the museum, as well as a chance to meet NRS conservators to discover how medieval documents are repaired, treated and cared for.

Paul Lowe, Chief Executive of NRS, said: “We are delighted to make this iconic document available once more for public view, working closely with our colleagues in the National Museum of Scotland."