Arctic traveller Isobel Wylie Hutchison who ventured forth from her West Lothian home in the 1920s.

Intrepid explorers major focus for Library in 2020

The challenges that faced Scotland’s pioneering women mountaineers, a diplomatic mission to the Ottoman Empire during the Napoleonic Wars, and women’s experiences of major social change in 20th-century Scotland are just some of the captivating stories on offer to visitors at the National Library of Scotland in 2020.

A new exhibition gallery uncovering cherished items from the archive is due to open in July. Featuring items from the Middle Ages to the present day, it will include relics of the printed word, extremely rare recordings from the moving image and sound collections, and personal archives.

National Librarian Dr John Scally said:

“We are excited about the programme on offer for the year ahead. It’s the perfect result of everything we do: scholarly research, preservation and storytelling. Much of next year’s content tells the stories of people from various walks of life, going where no one has gone before.

“Scotland has an incredibly rich history, both domestically and internationally, and visitors to the Library will experience some of these stories brought to life in vivid detail. We look forward to welcoming everyone who comes to us seeking inspiration, a sense of place, and of course – our forte – knowledge of the world around us.”

The following programmes will take place in 2020:

Collections in Focus

Alan Ramsay: Writing the Scots Enlightenment

18 February – 16 May

Ramsay’s poetry, drama and music

Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Awards

28 May – 25 July

The finest of contemporary bookbinding on display

Engineering Scotland: the Stevenson Archive

28 July – 31 October

Exposing the archive of the renowned engineering and lighthouse family to coincide with the Year of Coasts and Waters

Henrietta Liston’s Travels

3 November – 2 February 2021

Marking 200 years since Liston’s return from the Ottoman Empire

Temporary Exhibition Gallery

Her Century: Scottish Women on Film

5 June – 29 August

A curated film of women’s experiences spanning the Edwardian era to the Thatcher years

Petticoats and Pinnacles: Scotland’s pioneering mountain women

2 October – 20 February 2021

The Scots women who overcame social convention to pursue their dreams of travel and exploration

Visitors to the Library early in the New Year can still catch the much-celebrated major exhibition on the Scottish Enlightenment, Northern Lights, which runs until 20 April. At the Water’s Edge – a sample of the MacKinnon Collection, a photography collection spanning 100 years of Scottish life – continues until 15 February 2020.

All exhibitions will take place at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh.

Contact Information

Barbara Burke

National Library of Scotland

+44131 623 3738

+447904 791002

Notes to editors

The National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is a major European research library and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Scotland and the Scots – an information treasure trove for Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture.

The Library’s collections are of world-class importance. Key areas include rare books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, music, moving images, official publications, science and technology, and modern and foreign collections.

The Library holds more than 31 million physical items dating back over 1000 years in addition to a growing library of digital material. Every week the Library collects around 5,000 new items. Most of these are received in terms of Legal Deposit legislation, allowing the Library to claim a copy of everything published in the UK and Ireland (everything from children’s books to science journals, election leaflets to magazines and websites). / @natlibscot / facebook