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Sophy & White: the Dunollie Collections Unboxed

About the Project:

We received £166,917 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a 30 month long project focused on our museum collection. This project started in January 2024 and will end in July 2026.

‘Sophy’ and ’White’ are two of the rooms situated in Dunollie House which make up our 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 aims to safeguard, contextualise, and maximise the impact of these extensive collections by auditing, reviewing, recording, and making them accessible to wider audiences. Doing so will be the perfect opportunity to 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.

The Team:

The Sophy & White Project is lead by two staff members, Shannen Provan-Sloan as Collections Development Officer  and Anna Bain as Engagement and Learning Officer.

Shannen and Anna are working with a lovely group of 14 volunteers at the moment. If you are interested in joining or would like to know more about volunteering with Sophy & White, please get in touch with Anna on

What's happening now: 

We now have a fantastic team of local volunteers who are all keen to get involved and undergoing different aspects of collections training in April and May. Once there training is complete, we will be diving into the first of our four main topics to explore: ‘Scottish Women Collectors of the 19th and 20th century’ which will culminate in a conference in September 2024, made possible by the Oban Common Good Fund.


In this section, we will be sharing news, updates and experiences in the form of blog posts throughout the project. These two are just the very beginning.

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About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.



Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund 

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