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The Black Watch Castle and Museum

Balhousie Castle

Hay Street




tel: +44 (0)1738 638152




email: [email protected]



Contact details: Richard McKenzie; Shonagh Lowerson-Head


Date of visit: 15 October 2013


Nature and extent of collection


3000 pieces. The Black Watch Castle & Museum provides a permanent and financially-sustainable home for The Black Watch in Perth at the heart of the Regimental area, in the form of a top-class museum and visitor facilities. It takes inspiration from the traditions and heritage of The Black Watch. It is embedded in the local community. It provides a wide range of opportunities for learning through the story of The Black Watch, which plays an important part in the heritage of Scotland, the United Kingdom and of the British Army. The Castle & Museum, and the story it tells, are both intellectually and physically accessible to a wide range of users.


The Museum Collections contain: Paintings and prints; medals and decorations; Uniforms and accoutrements of The Black Watch; colours, pipe banners and flags; trophies, weapons, silver and miscellaneous items; and archived material.


The collecting area for the Museum is not defined geographically. Material is acquired on the basis of a proven connection with The Black Watch. The collections will therefore consist of items (including digital media) relating to The Black Watch Regiment, Territorial, affiliated, volunteer (and militia) and Battalion (3SCOTS), and its history.



All numbers below are estimated


Medals (commemorative or military): Roughly 3000 medals (mainly military with some commemorative)

Specific strengths: Military medals.


Library: N/A





Database used: Adlib


Proportion of collection on database:


How much detail in database entries? Almost all medals have basic descriptions including information on the ribbons and medal itself. This ties in with donor information, the name of the individual it was awarded to and the conflict they are linked to. Some have more detail e.g. citations depending on the information provided when donated.


Are images incorporated? Most have images incorporated. Possibly 10-15% still require images.


Is the database accessible to the public? In progress. We have a basic database on our website which we have plans to develop.


Is the database publicly accessible online? Yes:





Are there permanent numismatic displays? Yes. We have one in particular which focuses on the nature of medals, why these medals were awarded and what they look like. We also have a new numismatic display (which is still in progress) and shows over 200 medals collected by one individual ranging from the early 19th century up to the mid-20th century.


Is numismatic material incorporated into more general displays? Yes. We have incorporated medals into many of our other displays. This ensures that visitors are not over burdened with too much of the same material and that we are able to focus on the stories of the individual soldiers behind the medals. For example, we have a case including medals, uniform photographs and military equipment which explores one particular time period.


Is there a facility for temporary exhibitions? Yes. We have two temporary exhibition spaces.


Have there been numismatic exhibitions in the past? If so, what? No. Medals from our collection are often included within our temporary exhibitions but they only make up a small part of the overall display.



Access to the collection


Is there a study facility? We have a research room which can be booked in advance by researchers for a fee.


Is equipment (balances, magnifying glasses, etc.) provided? No.



Public engagement with numismatic collection


Is there a handling collection? Yes.


Are numismatic collections used in Education sessions? Yes. The only numismatic items used are medals.


Do numismatic collections feature in gallery talks, lectures? They appear in some of our educational talks for schools where the purpose of medals are discussed.


Are there other engagement activities based around numismatic collections? Not currently, however we may develop some in the future.



ID and public enquiries


Does the museum offer a service for identifying objects and other public enquiries? We have a section on our website for identifying medals: We can identify medals on request, but ask that this is done through the website as we operate as a small team. We also offer an enquiry service and are happy for people to get in touch with questions on the collection or archive.



Curatorial knowledge


Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? We currently have no numismatic expert in-house. However, Museum staff are well versed in the different types of medals which we hold.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? We would be most likely to contact either the National Museums Scotland or the British Museum should we be looking for further expertise.


If there is expertise in-house, is there a willingness/capacity to share that with other museums? We are happy to share the expertise we have of military medals with other museums, however this may be seen as limited compared to some of the National Museums.