GWL awarded Recognised Collection of National Significance status

It’s official, Glasgow Women’s Library is truly a National Treasure!

2015 has certainly been an important milestone year for Glasgow Women’s Library, with the completed renovations to our permanent new home, followed by an official opening on 7th November by the Rt. Hon. Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland, who described GWL as ‘truly a national treasure’.

Today we are so proud to announce that GWL has been awarded ‘Recognised Collections of National Significance’ status by Museum Galleries Scotland, joining Scotland’s elite list of must-see museum collections. This covers GWL’s entire collection of museum and archive holdings.

This further cements Glasgow Women’s Library’s status as the only accredited museum dedicated to women’s history in the whole of the UK.

Our collection contains rare and unique items that explore every aspect of women’s lives from the early 19th Century to today, from recipe books and knitting patterns to Suffragette memorabilia and Women’s Liberation objects. The collection documents women’s ‘everyday’ popular domestic and leisurely past times, together with their demands for social change in waves of activism to address inequalities.

Sue John with the plaque and certificate recording our newly awared status as a Recognised Collection of National Significance
Sue John with the plaque and certificate recording our newly awared status as a Recognised Collection of National Significance

Receiving the Recognition award, Sue John, GWL’s Enterprise Development Manager, said:

“Glasgow Women’s Library is unique in Scotland and people visit us from all over the world to access our rare items. We are as likely to welcome a visitor from Brisbane as we are from our local community of Bridgeton, and all are welcome. Women’s stories are told through a collection, exhibitions and public events that champion, celebrate and teach us about how women have shaped lives, families, communities and the country. We are utterly thrilled to be awarded the status of a ‘Recognised Collection of National Significance’ and look forward to welcoming more people to GWL in 2016”

Museums Galleries Scotland is the National Development Body for museums and galleries in Scotland and manages the Recognition Scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government. The Scheme ensures that Scotland’s most important collections are identified, cared for and promoted to wider audiences. The award also opens up access for Glasgow Women’s Library to apply for Recognition funding from Museums Galleries Scotland to improve how people experience the collection.

Duke St Prison Umbrella standBadges donated by Peter GilpinSuffragette brooch, c. early 20th centuryCopies of early lesbian magazines The Ladder, Sappho and Arena 3 from the Archive1930s knitting patterns from the Archive collectionSWRI cookbooks (Alt text)

Examples of just some of the items and materials that can be found in GWL’s Collection

The announcement brings the total of Recognised Collections of National Significance to 46. Along with Glasgow Women’s Library, the Highland Folk Museum collection and Kirkcudbright Artists’ Collection have also received Recognition Status today.

Ray Macfarlane, Chair of Museums Galleries Scotland’s Recognition Committee, said:

“These three new Recognised Collections demonstrate the incredible diversity and uniqueness of what lies inside museums and galleries dotted in towns and cities all across Scotland. By gaining Recognised Collection status we hope more people will get the opportunity to explore and learn about these important collections and the fascinating stories they tell.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

“Scotland’s museums and galleries play a vital role in supporting tourism, the economy and our local communities. Through our funding of the Recognised Collections of National Significance scheme, managed by Museums Galleries Scotland, we are improving access to and supporting our important collections.

“More than 25.3 million people engage with Scotland’s story every year and visit our major attractions. I congratulate the Highland Folk Museum collection, Glasgow Women’s Library and the Kirkcudbright Artists’ Collection who’ve been awarded Recognised Collections of National Significance status and encourage people to visit these must-see attractions.”


RCNS Collection



  • Posted 14th December, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Many congratulations, Sue John and all involved. A wonderful resource becomes a national asset – what a Christmas present! x

  • Posted 14th December, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    This is fantastic news for Glasgow, for Scotland and for anyone interested in social history. Well done all!

  • Posted 15th December, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink
    clare henry

    Great news – well deserved.

  • Posted 9th January, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    This is such wonderful news, and not before time! So so well done to all the women, volunteers, contributors and donators over the years, who’ve brought the Glasgow Women’s Library to where she is now :-D Many happy happy years ahead, and I can’t wait to visit the new library in her ‘forever home’ when I’m back in Scotland! xx

  • Posted 9th January, 2016 at 9:51 pm | Permalink
    Fiona McOwan

    This is fantastic news, well done GWL team, it’s a richly deserved award and will open more fruitful doors!

  • Posted 13th January, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Well done, you deserve it and so delighted that you are a national treasure!

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