Heritage Brought to Life

Discover the stories of Dundee’s people and the city’s industrial past; hear the roar of mill machinery; try Dundee’s famous cake; and more, as the city’s heritage is brought to life in our beautiful 1830s jute mill.

Discovery Repairs: Explore the Build

Experience conservation work undertaken by Scottish engineers using traditional methods, to restore Discovery’s ageing timbers as she approaches her 100th anniversary as a Royal Research Ship in 2025!

Adopt an Object
SUPPORT US

Support us to care for our nationally significant Polar and Jute Collections.

Become a Corporate Supporter

Discover the difference your business could make to our work in Dundee.

Our Sustainability Strategy

At Dundee Heritage Trust, we are committed to protecting and sharing our local and global heritage for current and future generations.

Latest News
ABOUT US

Keep up to date with news and stories from Discovery Point and Verdant Works Museum.

Polar Publications

Celebrate two iconic publications from within our Polar Collections; the famous South Polar Times compiled on Discovery in 1902, and Shackleton’s rare Aurora Australis.

The Boss
COLLECTIONS

As 2024 marks #Shackleton150, we look at just some of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Discovery story, and how his first trip to Antarctica paved the way for an incredible career in Polar exploration.

SUPPORT US

Adopt an Object

A unique and exciting way to support our collections

Adopt an Object is an exciting way to help Dundee Heritage Trust care for our Jute and Polar collections, by adopting one of our objects for a year – either for yourself or for someone else, as an unusual gift for any occasion.

At Discovery Point and Verdant Works, we are proud to showcase a diverse and fascinating collection of objects that bring the vibrant history of Dundee to life. Our collections are recognised by the Scottish Government as being of National Significance and are cared for by an expert team, but you can also get involved.
By supporting us with a symbolic adoption and making a regular gift, you’ll be helping us to preserve these extraordinary objects and continue to tell their fascinating stories for generations to come.
How it works

1. Choose your object

  • Roving Frame

    Keeping heritage skills alive at Verdant Works Museum

    The Roving Frame was used in the earlier stages of jute processing, where the sliver (unspun raw jute) was further combed out and given a slight twist to strengthen the fibre. Originally used to teach jute spinning and weaving at Dundee College of Technology, this machine has been altered from original design for safety with a new belt drive guard added. It is now regularly used by our volunteers to demonstrate the jute making process to visitors at Verdant Works, and one of the ways we help preserve our important heritage skills. This would make a great choice of gift for a teacher, artist or anyone interested in textiles.  

  • Lt. Skelton's Skis

    Symbols of early Antarctic exploration

    These skis belonged to Lieutenant Reginald Skelton (chief engineer) and were used as part of RRS Discovery’s Antarctic Expedition 1901-1904.They were made in Canada by Peterborough Canoe Company and the right-hand ski shows evidence of a repair, perhaps undertaken in Antarctica where a policy of ‘make do and mend’ was vital. The crew on the Discovery had not learned to ski before they sailed, and some found them frustratingly hard to use. They trialled the skis first on the ice in the Ross Sea in January 1902: Captain Scott wrote in ‘The Voyage of Discovery’ that We tied the ship to the largest piece of floe-ice we could find, and although this only measure 100 yards across, it proved sufficient for our purpose, which was to make our first attempt to use the Norwegian snow shoes or ski. With very few exceptions we had none of us used ski before, and consequently our first trial caused vast amusement.’   

  • Quant Tulip Skirt

    An icon of british fashion, in jute

    In 1963, iconic designer Mary Quant created this knee-length skirt of woven jute, as part of the ‘Ginger Culture Collection’. The jute industry, which employed 40,000 people in Scotland at the height of its success, sponsored a group of scientists to find new ways of marketing jute. The Jute Trade Research Association developed chemicals to soften the hard fibre for use in clothing. Mary Quant enjoyed experimenting with different materials, but unfortunately the fashion industry did not follow her lead. The trend for jute skirts did not make it beyond the swinging sixties, but adopting this item will still appeal to dedicated followers of fashion.  

  • Emperor Penguin

    For animal lovers big and small

    The Discovery expedition had been the first expedition to sight an Emperor Penguin rookery and collected the first egg of the species. They also discovered over 500 species of marine life and compiled 10 volumes of scientific research that helped us learn about the Antarctic continent. This Emperor penguin was collected as a specimen during the Terra Nova Expedition 1910-1912. It has been preserved in a showcase and mounted on an artificial ice base. Adopting this object would be ideal for nature lovers of all ages. 

  • Union Special AA

    A sack-sewing machine and staple of jute mills

    In the factory, sacks were sewn up using machines like this one, stitched with a sturdy drawstring and printed with a variety of business logos before being shipped out to customers. This machine could perform 2200 stitches per minute and produce 1400 sacks in a 10hour day. The invention of plastic saw a huge decline in demand for jute sacks as businesses switched to revolutionary new packing products. Now that we understand the impact of plastic waste on our planet, businesses are once again embracing sustainable materials and offering printed jute ‘Bags for Life. Jute is a natural material and poses no threat to the earth, while plastic bags take over 400 years to break down.

  • Aurora Australis

    The first book published in Antarctica

    This unique book, entitled the ‘Aurora Australis’ was written, printed and bound by the Polar Party to ward off boredom during the Winter of 1908 as part of Ernest Shackleton’s 1907-1909 expedition to the Antarctic aboard the Nimrod. Produced using broken up packing crates and lots of imagination, the book features over 100 pages of poems, articles, stories and illustrations inspired by expedition life. The books were gifted to benefactors and friends of the expedition on their return. The copy in our collections is signed “with kindest regards from the editor Ernest Shackleton” on the front inlay and has been constructed using what would appear to be the remnants of a soap crate. The crate stencils help collectors identify the various copies as well as our ‘Soap’ there are also ‘Butter’ Soup and Marmalade’ editions in collections all over the world.  

  • Cop Apron

    Symbolic of women in the mills across scotland

    Women working in the jute factories of Dundee would wear a cop apron tied around their waist. Made from a heavy jute canvas, they held cops and bobbins of yarn which were fed into their frames as part of their work within the mills. Of the tens of thousands of people employed in the jute industry in Dundee during the 19th and 20th centuries, women represented up to 75% of the workforce. The cop apron became a classic symbol of mill workers, but this is a rare surviving example of working costume. Although thousands of these aprons would have been in existence at one time, very few have been preserved and remain today. Choosing to adopt this object helps us demonstrate how ordinary ‘run of the mill’ items from daily life can become important treasures for future museum collections. 

  • Plumley's Goggles

    Experimentation and discoveries

    A pair of early snow goggles, belonging to Frank Plumley, who joined Discovery’s 1901-1904 expedition as a stoker, the person who tends to the ship’s furnace. Frank also proved useful in building and repairing the expedition’s sledges and hardware. He took part in several sledging journeys with Captain Scott to explore and map Antarctica. Snow goggles helped prevent snow blindness, a painful condition caused by the sunlight reflecting off the snow. Each of the Discovery crew members chose different designs of goggles as no design was perfect. Unfortunately, the metal edges of Plumley’s goggles would have frozen in the cold, but just imagine the sights they have witnessed. A meaningful present for any modernday explorer, or fan of snow sports. 

  • Model Aeroplane

    Handcrafted from salvaged jute tools

    This wooden model aeroplane is made from various weaving and spinning tools and was created by artist Sam Samson who crafts objects from weathered wood, salvaged metal and old mill equipment. The main body of the plane is created from a cone used to store spun thread before weaving, the wheels are made from bobbin tops and the decoration around the propeller is taken from pirns. This plane is a very popular exhibit with our younger visitors, and although it isn’t designed as a toy, making toys from discarded mill waste was a popular activity for mill workers. The artist has inscribed the base with a dedication to Eric Kirkham of the Victoria Spinning Company, who took over Dundee’s Queen Victoria Mill in 1982. The use of mill equipment in the model takes on much more significance when connected to personal memories of a working life. Consider adopting an object as a thoughtful way to celebrate a retiral or reminisce with an older loved one. 

  • Leitz Microscope

    Uncovering climate science

    This Leitz microscope was used by Captain Scott and his crew aboard the Dundee-built Terra Nova during the National Antarctic Expedition of 1910–12. At that time, the German company Leitz had a worldwide reputation for reliable optical instruments, very important for a detailed scientific study of the Antarctic environment. The company later became known as Leica, and their microscopes are still being used today to capture groundbreaking images in laboratories around the world. This object might appeal to anyone graduating into or working in a current scientific or research role or young scientists with enquiring minds. 

2. Pick your adoption package

Packages
BRONZE

£5 per month / £60 annual donation

An e-certificate of your symbolic adoption
Your name on our online Heritage Adopter list
Biannual email updates from our expert curatorial team
Silver

£10 per month / £120 annual donation

An e-certificate of your symbolic adoption
Your name on our online Heritage Adopter list
Biannual email updates from our expert curatorial team
Free VIP Heritage Adopter lanyard*
Free Annual Pass to the museum displaying your object*
Gold

£25 per month / £300 annual donation

A printed certificate of your symbolic adoption
Your name on our online Heritage Adopter list
Biannual email updates from our expert curatorial team
Free VIP Heritage Adopter lanyard*
Free Annual Pass to the museum displaying your object*
Special VIP visit including a tour with a member of our heritage team featuring your object**

3. Adopt today!

 

Please note, adoption of all objects is billed annually and paid monthly.

Thank you for your support.

Skip to content