Mass volunteer sign-up as Great Tapestry of Scotland comes to Dundee

As Dundee gets ready to host the Great Tapestry of Scotland, volunteers have been signing up en masse to support the historic exhibition.

Around 50 local volunteers will act as invigilators while the Tapestry is on exhibit at Verdant Works, Dundee’s social history museum. Part of the museum’s contract with The Great Tapestry of Scotland is that the unique work of art is never left unattended during the opening hours of the exhibition, which runs from 26th August to 22nd October.

The volunteers, including 30 new participants, will work in pairs on weekly rotas to oversee the 82 previously unseen, beautifully detailed panels – themselves stitched by volunteers – which tell the history of Scotland.

This will be the Tapestry’s second visit to Dundee. The hugely popular first exhibition at Verdant Works, taking place in Spring 2016, attracted almost 8000 visitors during its run. This year’s exhibition received sponsorship from Dundee solicitors Blackadders LLP and The Alexander Moncur Trust.

One of the Verdant Works volunteers, Alister Rutherford, helped stitch the Dundee panel of the Tapestry. The former community education worker took up embroidery as a hobby in 2008 and was one of four stitchers to work on the Dundee section.

Alister said:

“We were given a range of colours to work with and we were given a great deal of flexibility with what we created around the main images, which were already designed. The theme of the Dundee panel is ‘Jutopolis’, which features jute, jam, journalism and whaling. We included images like the Albert Institute, now McManus Galleries, and the Tay Bridge disaster.

He added: “I think it’s important that as many people as possible see the Great Tapestry of Scotland. It’s a stunning record of our history.”

Gill Poulter, Heritage and Exhibitions Director with Dundee Heritage Trust, which operates Verdant Works, said:

“We had an impressive number of volunteers signing up to help with the Great Tapestry of Scotland exhibition, which I think is testament to both the interest locals have in Dundee’s heritage, and to the popularity of Verdant Works itself. We’re delighted to be hosting the tapestry once more and to be able to share this special piece of Scotland’s history with the public.”

The Great Tapestry is the largest community art project ever to take place in Scotland. The full tapestry consists of 160 panels and, at 143 metres, is the longest tapestry in the world. This new display will showcase the rest of the panels, which depict important historical events such as the Vikings’ invasion of Scotland, the massacre at Glencoe, the first Edinburgh Festival, the miners’ strike in the 1980s and the founding of Scottish Rugby with the first Scotland v. England rugby match.

Verdant Works will also be redisplaying seven of the most popular panels from last year including the two sections highlighting the history of the city: ‘The Discovery Sails from Dundee’ and ‘Dundee: Jute, Journalism’.

When: 26 August – 22 October 2017. Open to all ages.

Where: High Mill, Verdant Works, West Henderson’s Wynd, Dundee DD1 5BT

Cost: Included in admission to Verdant Works

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