Chief executive Alex Paterson with a child dressed as a Roman

Scotland’s history, heritage and archaeology is on virtually everyone’s doorstep, so much so that we sometimes take it for granted. As Scotland’s biggest operator of visitor attractions the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate the value, significance and enduring appeal of our history to visitors, both at home and further afield.

Did you know that we

  • are responsible for over 300 historic properties
  • attract 4 million visitors each year
  • invest £14.5 million a year in historic buildings and projects
  • look after more than 5 million drawings, photographs and manuscripts
  • compile and publish over 55,000 designation records?

But it’s also a great chance for organisations across the country to join together in celebrating Scotland’s story – and to encourage new voices to join in with the conversation about Scotland’s past.

In 2017 we’ll be running a bigger and better events programme than ever, which will see the return of Spectacular Jousting to Caerlaverock Castle for the first time in a decade, a new Fort George event called Amazing Ages!, and our signature event at Dumbarton Castle, The Rock of Ages. Hundreds of costumed re-enactors will bring history to life for visitors across the country as never before, and we’ll also have guided walks, talks and theatrical performances taking place at historic attractions all over the country.

We’ll be opening our offices in Edinburgh to the public for a series of lectures from our archaeologists, and for those who can’t come to the city we’re also running a year-long digital engagement project, Archaeology InSites, using social and digital channels to highlight unknown archaeological sites from across Scotland.

Other activities include launching new research projects including one exploring Scotland’s prehistoric rock art, and asking people to think about what history they care about with our ‘What’s Your Heritage?’ campaign.


These are just some of the many new and exciting projects we’ll be running in 2017. Tell us what you’re looking forward to by commenting on this post or on social media using #HHA2017.


About Author


Alex Paterson

Alex Paterson is the Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland. He has been in this role since September 2016.