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Sophy & White: The Dunollie Collections Unboxed

We are starting the new year with a bang! This January marks the beginning of a new project for us called ‘Sophy & White: The Dunollie Collections Unboxed’, which was made possible thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

‘Sophy’ and ’White’ are two of the rooms situated in Dunollie House which make up their museum storeroom facilities. ‘Sophy’ is home to 3,000 items of clan and family dress and textiles dating from 1620 to early 20th century. These objects have been largely locked down since their discovery in 2002 for the safety of the objects. ‘White’ houses the Hope MacDougall Collection gathered in the latter half of the 20th century to record the working and domestic life in Argyll and across the Highlands and Islands. The objects were collected to Hope’s private ‘museum’ in her home - Ganavan House, Oban, from 1966 until her death in 1998, by which time she had over 5,000 objects supported by archive and background material.

Sophy & White: The Dunollie Collections Unboxed is a project aiming to safeguard, contextualise, and maximise the impact of these extensive collections by auditing, reviewing, recording, and making them accessible to wider audiences. It will engage new participants, facilitate creativity, and provide new skills for the community through the delivery of a four dynamic collections development projects covering themes such as Scottish women collectors, changing agricultural methods and traditions, fashion and textiles and sustainability. This has been our dream as a museum for many years and, thanks to national lottery players, we are finally able to make it come true.

We are delighted to have welcomed two new members of staff to join our team and lead this 30-month project: Shannen Provan-Sloan is our new Collections Development Officer and Anna Bain our new Engagement and Learning Officer.

“I am so excited to have been offered the opportunity to work on this project. Throughout my time at Dunollie I have developed such a passion for our collections, and I can’t wait to take these next steps in getting them the recognition they deserve. I think people are going to be so excited by some of the things we have here!”


‘’I am thrilled to have joined the team at Dunollie and be working on the Sophy and White Project. I am most excited about getting the community involved in the project, offering them the chance to learn fascinating new skills and the opportunity to learn about our heritage through our volunteer program. With the help from the public, we can uncover these collections and finally showcase them.’’

- Anna

We are looking for a team of volunteers to help Anna and Shannen in their work with our clan, textile and social history collections currently hidden away in Sophy and White.  We would love to hear from anyone with an interest in the project, all ages and levels of experience are welcome. Volunteers will have the opportunity gain various skills through a series of formal training sessions including handling objects, photographing, digital recording, research, interpretation, design, and display, coached by our own staff at Dunollie and by external experts. In turn, they will be able to put these new skills to use in a practical way as Dunollie’s two forgotten collections are brought back into the spotlight.

If you are interested in volunteering as part of the Sophy & White Team, please let us know by emailing .


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