On Sunday 20th August 2023, our museum was filled with colour, music and joy as we welcomed onto our stage the Katharine Robinson School of Highland Dancing – who had come all the way from Ottawa in Canada. Panels from the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry’s Canadian cohort were displayed on stage to make them feel at home!
The event began with an introduction by our curator Dr Arran Johnston, who explained the significance of the Raising of the Standard at Glenfinnan on 19th August 1745. Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Aidan Riley) made his second appearance at the museum, symbolically planting his standard on the stage.
Following this, a delightful programme of dances was performed by the very talented team from Ottawa, each introduced with interesting contextual notes by Cathy Edwards. Visitors were then invited to take to the floor themselves, with the Prince leading by example, to learn and perform together. Local Gaelic singer Rena Gertz provided beautiful vocals throughout the event, which concluded with warm thanks and a mutual exchange of gifts.
The event concluded when the Prince unveiled a new commemorative banner for the museum, made from squares of fabric decorated by children who had visited the museum during its first year open. The flag will now be displayed in the museum’s kid’s camp, joining those previously made by school groups.
After the event, Arran took the dancers and their families to have a look around the battlefield. This was particularly important since the group’s Cathy Edwards was descended from Allan Cameron of Clunes, who was killed by artillery fire on 20th September 1745 whilst picketed around Tranent Churchyard. Cathy and her family were taken to the area where the pickets were placed, standing close to the very spot where there ancestor may have fallen.
Our thanks go to all of the dancers and supporters from the Katharine Robinson School of Highland Dancing, to Rena Gertz, our volunteer team of Jan, Caroline and Michael, to HRH the Prince, and to all those who came along and got involved! It was a truly memorable occasion.