Revealing our collections

By Susanna Hillhouse, Collections Manager and Wendy Turner, Project Reveal Manager
This week, a newly recruited team of temporary staff started work on an ambitious project to audit, label, photograph and describe every artefact and work of art in our collections.


Weighed down with laptops, ladders, cameras, tape measures and object labelling equipment,  six inventory teams set off to catalogue and photograph all of the collections displayed and stored in 47 of our visited properties. The project will last 18 months and cover properties across Scotland, from Broughton House in Kirkcudbright to Hugh Miller’s Birthplace Cottage in Cromarty.

By the end of the project, we will have an updated and accurate database record of every item in our care. Improving the quality of the information that we hold will help us to manage the collections more effectively. More importantly, we will be in a stronger position to share what we know about our collections through events, property guides and interpretation, publications and online exhibitions.

Hill of Tarvit - Project Reveal

The scale of this project is unprecedented at the NTS and represents a major investment in managing and preserving Scotland’s heritage. It is also unusual within the cultural sector. Unlike most organisations that collect and care for historical artefacts, the majority of our collections are not in store but are on display within historic houses, castles, cottages and workshops, and much of the inventory work will take place in full view of our visitors. We are revealing not just our collections, but our working methods as well!

Project Reveal

We fully expect the teams to ‘reveal’ hidden treasures and to uncover new stories about our collections. As well as posting regular articles about the collections on this website, we also want to share our experiences of doing the work itself. So, once a month, the six teams will take it in turns to blog about Project Reveal and to share their personal experiences of what it is like to record and photograph the treasures and everyday items that make up our 100,000-strong collections.

Please check back regularly to see how we’re getting on or, better still, visit the teams at work at one of our properties. Join the conversation #ProjectReveal