New national visitor attraction announces opportunity for people to permanently stitch their name in Scotland’s history, heritage and culture

Visitors and residents across Scotland in 2020 are being given a unique opportunity to become part of Scotland’s history, heritage and culture for generations to come through The Great Tapestry of Scotland: Welcome Panel Tour announced today (Friday 31 January 2020). 

The programme of events will give people the chance to work with some of the country’s leading textile artists and add a stitch or two to the new welcome panels for the major new national visitor attraction housing the Great Tapestry of Scotland (one of the world’s most significant pieces of modern textile artistry). The tour will take place across Scotland throughout 2020 at a variety of iconic historic properties, leading cultural venues, care homes and other venues that promote social inclusion in Scotland. A range of venues for the tour have already been revealed in Aberdeen, Glasgow and the Scottish Borders (see notes to editors) and more will be confirmed later in the year.

When complete, the new Welcome to Scotland’s Story panels will be permanently displayed at the entrance to the Great Tapestry of Scotland’s £6.7 million purpose-built interactive visitor centre, which opens in 2021 in the historic town of Galashiels (in the heart of Scotland’s premier textile region, the Scottish Borders). Those who contribute a stitch will also be given the chance to have their names recorded in history as a contributor to the Tapestry’s visitor centre. 

Speaking of the Welcome Panel Tour recently appointed Great Tapestry of Scotland Centre Director Sandy Maxwell-Forbes, said: “Telling the people’s story of Scotland and making this story accessible to everyone has always been at the heart of the Great Tapestry of Scotland, so we’re incredibly excited to be giving those who live in Scotland, and those visitors who love our country so much, an opportunity to stitch their name in Scotland’s history through our new Welcome Panel Tour. We would like to thank all the venues and event organisers throughout Scotland who are making this possible.

“In keeping with the Great Tapestry of Scotland’s ethos, it is vital that as many people as possible have an opportunity to contribute to the panels. As part of the tour, we’re taking the Welcome Panels directly to venues, such care homes, to remove some of the barriers that some individuals face to accessing such significant cultural projects. We will add more venues throughout the year.”

Many of the stories told through the Great Tapestry of Scotland, which was completed in 2013, have strong ties to the history, heritage and culture that can be experienced first hand on a visit to Scotland. Building on this and, continuing the Tapestry’s ethos to tell the people’s story of Scotland, the new Welcome to Scotland’s Story panels will tell some of the true stories linked to the visitor centre’s new home in Scotland’s premier textile region, The Scottish Borders. The panels will feature a reiver, a shepherd, a monk, a mill worker and a fisher lass. By the time they are complete, it is hoped that over 1,000 different people from across Scotland and beyond will have contributed to them. 

The 21st Lady of Traquair, Catherine Maxwell Stuart, who is hosting the Welcome Panel Tour on 9 and 10 May said: “We are looking forward to the Great Tapestry of Scotland having a permanent home in the Scottish Borders where we hope it will draw visitors from far and wide to appreciate this outstanding cultural achievement”

“Over 900 years Traquair has witnessed extraordinary events in Scotland’s history, so we know only too well how important it is to hear Scotland’s stories as told by Scotland’s people. With our own strong heritage of textile and embroideries, it is wonderful to see these unique traditions being carried on to the 21st century. We are delighted to be part of the Welcome Panel tour with this wonderful team of textile artists giving residents and visitors to Scotland in 2020 an opportunity to part of this story.” 

Linda Wigley, Operations Director at Floors Castle, which is hosting the tour on 2 and 3 May 2020, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting the Great Tapestry of Scotland’s Welcome Panel tour. It is an incredible opportunity for people visiting Scotland to learn first hand from some of Scotland’s greatest textile artists and to firmly root themselves in Scotland’s history, heritage and culture for generations to come.”

Giles Ingram, Chief Executive of Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott, which will host the panels on Saturday 30 May 2020, said: “We are really looking forward to the opening of the Great Tapestry of Scotland.  It’s a wonderful new attraction for the Borders that will engage visitors with its depiction of Scottish people, places and events, many of which were very important to Sir Walter Scott and his stories. 

“Abbotsford is delighted to be a part of the tapestry’s story today and to give our visitors an opportunity to make their mark on an important piece of Scottish cultural history.”

Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, Councillor Mark Rowley, added: “I’m delighted the Welcome Panel Tour will take in some of the exceptional venues we have in the Scottish Borders, highlighting both the region’s significant textile heritage and the vibrancy of today’s artists, makers and manufacturers.

“Its tour of Scotland is an opportunity to remind people of this great artwork and alert people across the country to the fantastic new home for the Tapestry currently being created in Galashiels.”

For more information or to book tickets for the Great Tapestry of Scotland Welcome Panel Tour visit scottishtapestry.com or follow @GreatTapestrySc on Facebook or Twitter, and @GreatTapestryScotland on Instagram.