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The Story of Edinburgh Unveiled in 101 Objects

Press Release   •   May 04, 2017 13:32 BST

Creating a fresh perspective on Edinburgh’s rich narrative of history, culture, heritage and everyday life, Edinburgh’s 101 Objects is a new visitor experience set to bring the city’s colourful, and sometimes dark, past to life through some of its most treasured objects and curiosities.

Launching today (Thursday 4 May) the city-wide campaign is a first for Edinburgh. 50 partners, including city institutions, attractions, universities, galleries and local pubs, have come together to each showcase their precious objects in celebration of 1,000 years of Scotland’s capital city. Over 80% of the 101 Objects can also be found in venues free to visit.

Running until April 2018, the 12-month campaign forms part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, made possible by a city collaboration on an unprecedented scale. The brainchild of and developed by Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG), Marketing Edinburgh and Edinburgh World Heritage, the partners have joined forces with 44 object owners to make Edinburgh’s 101 Objects a reality. Funding support from the object owners, Virgin Money and a successful application to the VisitScotland Growth Fund has enabled the campaign.

From the architectural grandeur of the Scott Monument and the ethereal ceiling in the Thistle Chapel at St Giles’ Cathedral,to a 90-year old paint mixer used on the Forth Bridge and a golf ball once owned by Robert Louis Stevenson, every object has been carefully chosen for both their personal intrigue and wider role in the compelling story of the city.

Seven themes provide athread through the Edinburgh’s 101 journey through time: Building a City, Faith & Nation; City of Innovation; Arts & Performance; Everyday Life; On the Dark Side and Books, Words, Ideas. A balanced combination of familiar favourites including The Stone of Destiny, Sherlock Holmes statue and Dolly the Sheep, sit along the first Edinburgh International Festival programme from 1947, the 200-year old Sabal palm tree, the original New Town Plan and the Witches Well.

A new website presents all 101 objects, providing an entertaining insight into each object’s personal history and its place within Edinburgh’s gripping story. With each item numbered 1-101, visitors can explore the objects, arranging them by locale or theme, creating a personal visitor experience tailored to their interests. Designed to bean engaging information resource, the site also acts as a mobile geo-mapped guidebook, enabling visitors to navigate the city and discover the physical objects for themselves.

Edinburgh’s 101 Objects which celebrates Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, runs from May 2017-April 2018 in various locations across the city. #Edinburgh101

Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage said:

Our experts have carefully selected objects that are both intriguing in themselves and help us tell the wider story of the city and the World Heritage Site over a time span of 1,000 years. The different themes cover all aspects of the city’s extraordinary story and will help everyone discover the objects that they personally find fascinating as well as explore less visited corners of Edinburgh.”

Robin Worsnop, Chair of Edinburgh Tourism Action Group said:

“Edinburgh’s 101 Objects and its associated marketing campaign is the first of its kind in the UK and is aimed at driving new and repeat visits. Through showcasing the breadth and depth of the city’s visitor offer we aim to improve the quality of the visitor experience, enabling visitors to enjoy a much richer and deeper visit allowing them to engage with Edinburgh’s history in a new way.”

Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director, said:

“With over one third of visitors drawn to Scotland for its history and culture, the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 is an exciting opportunity to relive Edinburgh’s fascinating past.Offering something new to discover for every visitor is a perfect way to mark the year.”

John Donnelly, Chief Executive of Marketing Edinburgh said:

“It’s fascinating to see the depth of items that have helped shape Edinburgh into the world-class city it is today. The new digital platform is the crucial linchpin of the campaign, choreographing all 101 objects into one place and creating a narrative that the user can explore and tailor to their personal interests.”

Andrew Nicholson, Brand Director at Virgin Money said:

“Virgin Money has deep roots in Edinburgh and it is a place that consistently surprises and inspires us. What city other than Edinburgh could associate a Bay City Rollers poster and a signed Trainspotting script, alongside Sir Patrick Geddes and the Scott Monument.”

For more information, contact Yasmin Ahmad on email at or call 0141 648 9610.

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    2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
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