The Scottish Heritage Center was established to highlight and preserve the Scottish heritage and traditions of the region and beyond. The Upper Cape Fear and Sandhills regions of the Carolinas were home to the largest settlement of Highland Scots in North America until well into the 19th century. In 1989, on the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of Highland Scots (the now famed “Argyll Colony”) in North Carolina, the college undertook a number of projects aimed at providing educational resources relative to these Scots and others who settled in the region. The Scottish Heritage Center provides assistance and resources for hundreds of interested parties annually.
The Scottish Heritage Center, located on the St. Andrews campus, houses a notable collection of old and rare books dealing with Scottish and Scottish-American history, genealogy, and culture as well as current scholarly titles and periodicals. The Center also contains exhibits relative to the Scottish settlement of the southeastern region of North Carolina, as well as artifacts relative to the famed Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald who resided briefly in the region in the late 18th century. The Center also houses the “Fiona Ritchie Radio Archive for ‘The Thistle and Shamrock'” – the archive of the popular radio program heard over hundreds of National Public Radio stations nationwide.
This is the largest collection of Celtic music of its type in the United States. The Scottish Heritage Center sponsors a number of activities yearly which include special concerts and lectures. The most important event in the Center’s calendar is the annual “Scottish Heritage Weekend” held in March. This weekend includes the “Our Scottish Heritage” Symposium, an educational opportunity which features presentations of Scottish and Scottish-American history, genealogy, and culture by top scholars from Scotland and the United States. The annual Scottish Heritage Awards Banquet is also held during the Scottish Heritage Weekend. This gala event honors outstanding members of the Scottish-American community who have made outstanding contributions to the preservation and perpetuation of Scottish heritage and traditions. Past honorees include Fiona Ritchie, Jean Redpath MBE, Ellice McDonald, Jr., the late Lady Dorothy Dunnett, Sharyn McCrumb, Pipe Major Sandy Jones, the Honourable Flora I. MacDonald, Dr. Duane Meyer, the late Rev. Canon Dougald Lachlan MacLean, and many others who have made outstanding contributions to the Scottish community. The public is cordially invited to the “Scottish Heritage Weekend” and the event draws its large annual attendance from throughout North America and Scotland.
For further information on the Scottish Heritage Center, its resources, and the annual “Scottish Heritage Weekend” held annually in March, please contact the Director of the Scottish Heritage Center, (910) 277-5236.