Introduction   Overview   The shape of the debate   Themes Theme 1 - A National Heritage Collection Theme 2 - Heritage for Communities Theme 3 Making heritage accessible Theme 4 Heritage and Tourism after 2014    
Video Feature What would it look like? Case study Overseas Experience
Issues to overcome The options for NTS Your views  

Scotland's historic and natural environments, buildings, monuments and landscapes, tell our story as a nation, shape our present and will (we hope) be handed on to our successors.

Nature shaped our land and human activity has left Scotland with an extensive legacy: some 8,000 scheduled monuments, 28 nationally important battlefields, 390 nationally significant gardens and designed landscapes, and 47,600 listed buildings (of which 3,200 are of the highest standard).

These are only those sites considered important enough to designate; undesignated sites and properties are perhaps ten times greater in number. Heritage also goes beyond the tangible to the intangible – the ideas and associations we bring to physical places and objects.

While our interest in conserving and enjoying this legacy is undimmed, our capacity to do so has been challenged. Economic shocks, and the need to tackle budget deficits, have put private owners under pressure, seen national and local government cut budgets, and increased the vulnerability of the voluntary sector.
The costs of conservation, insurance and compliance continue to rise, while skills to conserve and manage can be in short supply. Political and commercial pressures influence approaches.  The end result of these pressures could be the deterioration or loss of our national heritage.  Alternatively, it will drive changes to how we think about our national heritage, with both clear and unclear consequences.

The historic environment sector in Scotland has now come together with the Scottish Government to plan a way ahead. At this point, the Government’s Our Place in Time strategy sets out ambitions to investigate and record, to care and protect, and to share and celebrate, but we have not yet identified the ways in which we can best do this.

Faced with these pressures, can we learn from conservation practice elsewhere?
We already have national collections for art, for books, for artefacts, amongst others - do we also need a national collection of historic buildings and places?

Would it make any sense to apply the principles that underpin our existing national collections – selection, acquisition, conservation to common standards – to the distributed collection of nationally significant places, which are owned by multiple organisations and put to many different uses?