National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Four weeks to Declaration of Arbroath display

Four weeks to Declaration of Arbroath display

Friday, 5 May 2023
Photo showing Declaration of Arbroath Seals

It's just four weeks to go until the Declaration of Arbroath – the most famous document in National Records of Scotland collections - makes its first public appearance in 18 years.

The Declaration will be displayed from 3 June – 2 July  2023 at the National Museum of Scotland.

The Declaration of Arbroath is a letter to the Pope sent in 1320 from the barons of the Kingdom of Scotland seeking his recognition of Robert the Bruce as the country's lawful king. 

National Records of Scotland preserves the document as part of the national collections.  

Head of Conservation Linda Ramsay said: 

"The Declaration of Arbroath is over seven hundred years old, so it is not only precious and historic but very fragile. 

"The National Records of Scotland Conservation team care for the Declaration and we are working with archivists ahead of this rare opportunity for the public to see it for themselves, to ensure its preservation for future generations."

NRS Head of Medieval & Early Modern Records Dr Alan Borthwick said:

"The Declaration of Arbroath is a key document from the formative period of the Kingdom of Scotland. 

"The parchment itself is highly impressive but it’s the stirring language and evocative sentiments contained in the text that have given the Declaration of Arbroath its special distinction, in Scotland and around the world." 

Alice Blackwell, Senior Curator of Medieval Archaeology and History at National Museums Scotland said:

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to display the Declaration of Arbroath here at the National Museum of Scotland. It is a hugely significant document and a vital piece of Scotland’s history. We look forward to welcoming many visitors to enjoy the rare opportunity of seeing this iconic document close up."