We’re more than three weeks into the Great Tapestry of Scotland exhibition at New Lanark and so far over 6,000 visitors have come through the doors for a chance to see the stunning Scottish artwork. With an average of 300 visitors each day, the successful running of the exhibition would not be possible without the generous help of our tapestry volunteers!
“We recently gained ‘Volunteer Friendly’ status from Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire, and we believe that has had a huge impact in attracting people to volunteer at the tapestry” said Jane Masters, Heritage Manager at New Lanark World Heritage Site.
Over 30 volunteers are involved in the Great Tapestry of Scotland exhibition at New Lanark and they undertake a range of tasks – from providing a friendly welcome to the exhibition and answering questions, to helping people leave their stitch on the People’s Panel. A number of the tapestry volunteers already volunteer at New Lanark in the Search Room, working on digitising the vast range of archives from the World Heritage Site. The rest have chosen to give up their free time for a number of reasons – some have even volunteered at previous Great Tapestry exhibitions around Scotland and couldn’t resist the chance to be involved again.
We asked some of our volunteers what their favourite thing about volunteering at the Great Tapestry was:
“It’s really interesting to be volunteering here, and it’s amazing to be able to see all of the incredible detail that has went into the panels. I’ve met lots of people I wouldn’t normally have met, and it’s great to be able to answer peoples questions about the tapestry. The question I get asked most is where it’ll be exhibited next…but that’s not been announced yet!” Helen Bell
“It gives me great pleasure to be able to show people around the tapestry. It’s 143m long, so you really appreciate all the work that has gone into it. My favourite thing about volunteering is talking to people, and being able to answer their questions about the tapestry. I’d recommend volunteering to anyone as it’s really worthwhile, and it’s nice being able to help the public” Kenneth Ellis
“I helped to stitch Panel 97, and have been part of a banner group since 1990. After we stitched a banner for ‘Glasgow: City of Culture’ in 1990, we received a certificate saying we could graze our sheep and hang our washing in Glasgow Green. We told Andrew Crummy that and he included a little washing line and sheep in Panel 97’s football design! I love meeting everyone who visits the tapestry, hearing their positive comments and where they’ve come from” Marilyn Caddell
“I used to teach in Carluke, so it’s been great meeting people that I wouldn’t have expected to see here: parents, pupils and friends!” Lorna Chapman
“I live locally and saw an advert looking for volunteers in the paper. I enjoy Arts & Crafts, and I helped embroider the Millenium Tablecloth for Lanark Rural – so it seemed like it would be very interesting to volunteer at the tapestry. It’s wonderful seeing the fantastic reception the tapestry receives from visitors from around the world” Eileen Greig
We spent the day at the Great Tapestry with our volunteers on Saturday 8th November. It was one of our busiest days with almost 500 visitors! The highlights of the day were two storytelling sessions with best-selling Scottish author Allan Burnett. Visitors young and old crowded round to hear Allan tell fantastic tales from his book “The Story of Scotland” which is inspired by the Great Tapestry of Scotland. From Macbeth to Mary Queen of Scots, history really came alive as Allan interpreted details from the Tapestry into fascinating Scottish stories.
There are now less than two weeks left to see the Great Tapestry of Scotland at New Lanark before the exhibition ends on Sunday 23 November at 5pm. (last entry 4pm) Don’t miss out!
New Lanark Marketing and PR Officer