Digitisation Strategy for Shetland Museum’s Recognised Textile Collection

In 2013 Shetland Museum was awarded national recognition for its Textile Collection, in demand by designers, makers, historians, and the general public as a source of inspiration, enjoyment and craft development and learning.  As yet, the collection remains publicly inaccessible in digital formats, despite proven public interest.  Shetland Museum is carrying out an assessment of its knitted lace collection.  It comprises 200 catalogued garments in the existing collection and an additional 250 uncatalogued pieces from the recent donations of two private collections.  Ahead of digitisation, and using the knitted lace collection at Shetland Museum and Archives as a focal point, this project will undertake an investigation to understand the most appropriate approach to digitisation for collections of cultural and living heritage. 

For Shetland Museum and the rural museums in Shetland, the provenance of objects is securely embedded in the local community.  Donors’ families and ancestors are or were producers or users of objects, and museum volunteers have strong connections to the owners or makers of objects.  There is a strong sense of community ownership and identity.  In this respect, providing every available morsel of information about the collection is neither logistically viable nor, in many cases, ethical or legal.  As such, this research aims to create an appropriate and usable digitisation strategy which is meaningful and relevant to the Museum, the local community and the online visitor.

Research data will be collected through questionnaires and interviews with museum staff, the local community, designers and craftspeople, and visitors to the museum (online and in-person).  If you would like to contribute to the research, please read our Participant Agreement form and Privacy Notice to understand your rights as a participant, and then fill in our online questionnaire.  We would love to hear your views and any follow up comments you may have.

If you are happy to help, please note that your participation is voluntary. If you decide you do not want to complete the survey, you are able to withdraw by closing your browser and the data will not be collected. Your responses will only be collected when you click ‘submit’. Your responses are anonymous and cannot be traced to you individually. Participants will be only identified by a unique code or standardised description (for example museum worker, academic researcher, designer, etc).

The results of this research will be used to produce reports and academic publications and presentations, and inform and shape the future direction of collection digitisation for Shetland Museum.  The findings of the investigation will be disseminated as a framework, or template, from which small rural museums, in the early stages of their digitisation planning, can maximise content creation, sharing and use, as well as realise their own organisational objectives.

Project team


For further information about the project please email Roslyn Chapman


Shetland digitisation project logos