Find our more about Verdant Works collections

Dundee Heritage Trust Collections

Why we collect

Dundee Heritage Trust’s main aim is to showcase this city’s maritime and textile heritage and preserve this history for future generations. We do this through collecting a wide range of objects, documents and photographs. This helps us understand the past and can tell us a lot about how different people lived and worked, their interests and beliefs and look deeper into major events which had an impact on Dundee and its people locally, nationally and internationally.

Our collections are then displayed, both within our permanent galleries or temporary exhibition spaces, for you to examine and enjoy. However, as in all museums, not all this material can be shown at the same time in which case collections are kept in our stores. Here they are looked after and catalogued to be used for display on-line, research, within education and handling collections and a variety of other different ways in order to keep this city’s history alive.

How we collect

Our collections come to us in a variety of different ways. Sometimes we borrow objects, particularly for temporary displays, or occasionally we purchase items either via auction or private dealers. However the majority of our objects are donated to the museum.

If an object is accepted into the collection we would first issue a receipt called an Entry Form. This records as much information as possible about the history of the object and transfers ownership to the museum. We also record whether the object is a loan or donation and whether it is to be used for display or educational/ handling purposes. Due to limited space, we aren’t able to guarantee an item will go on display immediately but that doesn’t mean it isn’t being used and appreciated.

Objects for research and display purposes are then accessioned, which means they are given a unique number and all information is then recorded, both physically into books known as Accession Registers and digitally onto our collection databases.

The condition of the object is then assessed to see whether further conservation is required. Finally, the item is then either displayed or stored using specialised materials to ensure our collections are well looked after and preserved for future generations.

What we collect

We are always looking for new archives, photographs and objects to help us fully represent the important stories our museums tell, the value of which has been recognised by the Scottish Government who designated both our Jute and Maritime material as ‘Collections of National Significance’.

Unfortunately, due to limited space, we cannot take in all material offered and as an Accredited museum service, we have policies guiding what objects to collect and, if necessary, to dispose. Before we accept an object we will first consider how well it fits into our collecting criteria, the object’s condition, its history and whether we already have a similar example.

In terms of our Verdant Works we look for material relating to Dundee’s textile industries, this ranges from products and engineering to the industry’s Indian connections and the lives of the workers. This includes:

  • Jute machinery and tools
  • Technical drawings
  • Objects, photographs and archives relating to any Dundee jute mill and their workers
  • Objects, photographs and archives relating to any Indian jute mill and their workers
  • Jute products
  • Polypropylene, flax and linen industries

For Discovery Point, as well as material on the ship itself, we also take in objects relating to other important polar expeditions to fully represent Antarctic exploration. This includes:

  • Material relating to Discovery during all eras
  • General Antarctic expedition material
  • Shipbuilding re. Dundee Antarctic whaling ships

How you can help us and find out more

We are always looking for new material to help us better illustrate our museum stories. If you have an object, archive or photograph you think could help us in this, please get in touch. We also collect stories and would also love to hear about any information you have on the companies, mills and people who made and used these objects and archives.

To find out more you can: