Held within Aberdeenshire Museums Collections are nearly 250,000 intriguing and fascinating local, national and international artefacts. Our Favourite Things is a wee taste of what's on offer, chosen by members of the team who care for, preserve and display these objects.
Inuit footwear is traditionally made from caribou, reindeer (domesticated caribou) or seal skin usually with grass or skin insoles. The decorative features are distinct to the individual maker and specific regions. Styles and materials changed seasonally and depended on the intended use of the shoes and where they were made. Inuit considered footwear an extremely important part of their clothing being the one item that helps humans make the transition from earth to air, from the spirit world to the present world. Inuit and other Northern people continue to use traditional footwear for ceremonial and other special occasions.
“I adore these gorgeous Inuit moccasins; the workmanship is exquisite, and I consider them a work of art. To me they conjure an image of an Inuit woman sitting by a fire quietly humming to herself whilst working away in the flickering light. To be able to create such beautiful work is wondrous and I am delighted the footwear is preserved in the collections.” Jo Edwards, Customer and Commercial Services Officer.
Massive basket hilt of the Glasgow type with heart emblems and large wrist-guard. grip of wood, with sharkskin cover and has a single-edged blade partly double fullered. The dark red liner is backed with buff leather, which has been repaired at some point. The blade carries the mark of the 'Running wolf' of Passau on one side and the name of ANDREA FERARA [sic] and small crescent marks and diamonds. Late 17th century.
After the Act of Union in 1707, the claymore was regarded as a symbol of physical strength and prowess and a link to the highland way of life. Such swords remain in service with officers of Scottish regiments in Britain and various Commonwealth countries today.
“My favourite thing is the claymore sword because I would have used one in a past life as a highlander fighting alongside Jamie Fraser in Outlander. My surname is Cowie and I'm part of the Fraser clan.” James Cowie, Museum Technician
Pedal-powered toy tractor, early 1950s. This tractor was made by the toy company Tri-ang. The title 'Major' echoed the famous Fordson of the same name. Such toys were popular in both urban and rural contexts. They appealed to children’s aspirations and played on the popular image of farming.
“I love this wee tractor – I can imagine the owner hammering around enjoying themselves immensely, copying activities going on around them or imagining running a farm of their own. My son had a metal trike, about the same size, when he was 3. He absolutely loved it and practised reverse parking for hours.” Carla Angus, Performance & Events Development Coordinator.
The phonograph is part of the John Junner Collection kindly donated to Aberdeenshire Museums Service. The full collection comprises musical instruments, recording and playing equipment, and music recordings on wax cylinders, tapes and cassettes. Junner (1919–2009) was a schoolteacher and esteemed musician from Strachan, Aberdeenshire.
"I am stunned by the ingenious way that sound is recorded into a wax cylinder and the simple but clever engineering. The phonograph is similar to a gramophone but records on to a hard wax cylinder instead of a flat disc. The flat discs were commonly made from shellac and later the vinyl we know and love today." Heitor Alves, Arts and Heritage Technical Officer.
“A flint arrowhead, so perfect and undamaged that it could have been made yesterday and not in the Bronze age between 5,000-3,500 years ago.
It's a work of art when it didn't need to be just to kill your next meal. Generally seen as a throw away item as you might not even get it back if you didn't manage to get a clean kill. Perhaps made by a skilled craftsman with some pride in his work, to make it right and to do it beautifully." Jamie Cutts, Photographic and Multi-Media Technician