During the past 25 years or so there have been remarkable developments within the voluntary and independent heritage sector. As Shetland has adapted to a key role in the oil industry, the community has shown renewed interest in all aspects of the islands’ culture and history.
A unique network of voluntary groups has become established throughout Shetland, and in 2000 Shetland Heritage Association was formed as an umbrella group to "give a voice" to the voluntary heritage sector in the islands. There are currently some 36 member organisations in the association. The majority of the membership is compromised of local history groups which conduct most of the field work into the oral history projects which continue throughout Shetland. Other groups have helped set up independent museums and heritage centres; quite remarkably, six centres have met the stringent criteria of Museum Galleries Scotland, and are now fully registered museums. Many SHA members have a specialist interest in particular aspects of Shetland heritage, such as Textiles, Crofting, Shetland Dialect, Storytelling, Family History and the Norwegian Connection.
Heritage tourism is an increasingly important factor in the Shetland economy, and independent centres function as Neighbourhood Information Points. The SHA member groups deal with around 70,000 visitors a year, and provide an unrivalled service within an island community with a population of around 22,000.
Pat Christie (Chair/Facebook/Website)
Cunningsburgh History Group
Tel: 01950 477 372
Robina Barton (Minute Secretary/Training)
Barbara Anderson (Treasurer/Correspondence)Tel: 01595 820 368
Barbara Isbister (Committee Member)
Mike McDonnell (Committee Member)
Marina Tait (Committee Member)
Florence Grains (Committee Member)
Davy Cooper (Committee Member)
Douglas Young (Facebook)
Steven Christie (Website/Facebook)
Carol Christiansen (Co-opted Member)
Jonathan Wills (Co-opted Member)
Wendy Hand (Co-opted Member)