2017 is Scotland’s year of History, Heritage & Archaeology. Find out what’s happening and how your organisation can get involved. 


Following the success of last year’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, VisitScotland is putting the country’s ancient past in the spotlight for 2017. The Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology (HHA2017) initiative aims to celebrate Scotland’s distinct culture and hidden gems, encouraging audiences to discover something new, while driving visitors the nation’s tourism and events sector.  The ‘Year Of…’ initiatives are an opportunity for cultural organisations to raise awareness of their programme or collection to new audiences looking for ideas for a good day out.

The year is being supported by more than half a million pounds of government funds and is being led by VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. Partners include Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.

The diverse programme provides opportunities for local, UK and international visitors to connect to Scotland’s past, whilst showcasing many arts organisations and venues that are part of the country’s present. From ancient monuments to festivals of folklore and historic achievements, key components of the Scottish cultural landscape will be honoured.

Highlights this spring include Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows, an immersive light show, Scotland in Six, focusing on six world heritage sites, TradFest in Edinburgh, Paisley’s International Festival of Weaving and Purvai Festival in Stornoway marking Scotland’s historical links with south-east Asia.

The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 has built on the popularity of previous themed years. 2015 was the Year of Food and Drink, 2014 was all about Homecoming Scotland and the initiative goes all the way back to 2011, the Year of Active Scotland.

To get involved

VisitScotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology toolkit is a great resource with free marketing tools and funding information for those looking to take part. You can also get involved in the conversation on social media with the hashtag #HHA2017.

Funding has increased significantly year on year as the programme continues to boost tourism. The themed years look set to keep coming back having been a great success since their launch in 2011. But to make the most of the funding available it’s best to plan in advance; the main funding applications for this year closed on 31st January 2017.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can ensure your organisation is ready to make an application for 2018’s Year of Youth, watch this space. We’ll be bringing you more in the weeks to come.