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New blockbuster exhibit at Verdant Works is so big it has to be shown in two parts

Verdant Works volunteer guide Richard Irvine in costume as a mill manager.
Verdant Works volunteer guide Richard Irvine in costume as a mill manager.

It has travelled the world, is made up of over 300 different parts, spans 153 metres and has even been the subject of a police investigation.

For the first time since it was completed in 2014, the mammoth Scottish Diaspora Tapestry will be on show at Dundee’s Verdant Works when the popular attraction reopens from May 28.

And because it’s so huge, the jute museum is having to show it in two parts in the stunning High Mill.

Postponed due to the pandemic, viewing of the tapestry will be included free with an entry ticket.

Detail of a panel from the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry.

Curator, Mel Ruth Oakley says: “We are delighted that we are the first venue the tapestry will be seen at since lockdown.

“For the past year, everyone has had to be imaginative about the ways they connect with their communities. The tapestry shows the spread of the Scottish community across the globe.

“As the restrictions lift we are thrilled to finally welcome customers back to Verdant Works and offer our visitors the chance to see something new and have an enjoyable time.”

The tapestry consists of 300 embroidered panels and tells the stories of Scotland’s communities across the world.

The first part of the exhibition will focus on Europe, The Baltics and The Americas and will be on display between May 28 and July 20.

Part two will focus on South Asia, Australasia, Africa and the UK and will run between July 22 and September 12.

The tapestry involved artists and communities from 34 countries across the globe. It explores the vast connections Scots have with the rest of the world.

Police investigation

Although it’s been in existence for less than a decade, the tapestry has already had a colourful past.

In 2017, a panel was stolen while it was on show in Edinburgh. It was handed back to police a few weeks later with a handwritten note of apology. Not long after this, the tapestry went on show in Crieff.

Dundee weaver Lily Thomson at Verdant Works.

The Verdant Works will offer its usual attractions on reopening, including well-known volunteer Lily Thomson, Dundee’s last working weaver.

Lily says: “I am desperate to get back to the museum, I’m really missing sharing the stories of the Mill.”


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