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Explore stories about Black history and culture, from colonial legacies to contemporary fashion, and hear Black perspectives on aspects of the Collections.

Black History Month started in Scotland over 20 years ago. It is rooted in the solidarity of the anti-racist movement and raises awareness of issues of Black history and present day racism. This includes highlighting colonial histories and legacies that continue to shape Scottish society. Find out more at Black History Month Scotland.

We've pulled together stories from across our collections and activities. New ones will be added throughout October and beyond, so be sure to check back.

Black voices

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'Exchange' spanned 2 nations, 9 museums and 15 community groups with 83 participants.

Dr Yahya Barry shows how the project helped museums, galleries, libraries and archives work with South Asian, African and Caribbean diaspora groups to answer questions they identified.

Read about the Exchange project
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Making 'Back to Black'

Glass artist Christopher Day uses his craft to navigate what it means to be Black in the UK, investigating complex topics and social tensions through the use of the personal.

In this post, Chris explores his practice through the process of making 'Back to Black', a piece we recently acquired.

Read Christopher's blog post
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Eunice Olumide, MBE

Eunice is a Scottish supermodel, broadcaster and curator. She was awarded an MBE in 2017 for services to broadcasting, the arts and charity.

In this film, Eunice reflects on her personal journey, and on feeling conflicted about accepting an award that celebrates the British Empire.

Watch Eunice's video

Colonial history

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'Collecting Stories' gallery

Our new 'Collecting Stories' gallery at the National Museum of Scotland looks the development of the National Collection and explores how and why we have acquired objects over two centuries and continue to do so today. John Giblin, Keeper of Global Arts, Cultures and Design, tells us more.

Read about 'Collecting Stories'
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Ancient African Queens: New Perspectives on Black History

See our panel discuss how reassessing 19th and 20th century colonial attitudes can bring new perspectives to fascinating aspects of ancient Egyptian culture and its place in African history.

Watch the event recording
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Air Personnel of Colour

A new project looks to recover and reconstruct the presence of personnel of colour within the RAF in Scotland during the two world wars.

PhD researcher Isobel Westbury will explore the diversity of people connected to flying in Scotland during this period and talks us through the aims, and her hopes, for the project she’s just started.

Read about air personnel of colour
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Collecting the Present: Empire Café porcelain tea set

This porcelain tea set was used in a pop-up café in Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games of 2014. Over the products of Empire – tea, coffee and sugar – visitors to the Empire Café discussed Scotland’s role in the transatlantic slave trade.

Watch the Empire Café video

Contemporary stories

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Sanaa Gateja's bead-work shawl

Colourful and intriguing, this bead-work shawl by contemporary Ugandan artist, Sanaa Gateja, transforms waste paper into a statement piece of art and fashion.

Find out more about Sanaa Gateja's work
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Celebrating Black Fashion

How are progressive changes within the fashion industry being documented through exhibitions and contemporary collecting?

In a conversation chaired by Mal Burkinshaw, model and broadcaster Eunice Olumide and museum curator Georgina Ripley share their experiences of a transforming industry.

Watch the 'Celebrating Black Fashion' video
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WITH Coastal Style

A project exploring the relationship between tradition and change in the lives of women in Mozambique. Discover how focusing on the cotton printed capulana encouraged discussions around identity and cultural heritage.

Read more about WITH Coastal Style


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