Cinema Memories Event

The National Library of Scotland is touring again with its display – Going to the Pictures, Scotland’s memories of cinema.

It arrived at Low Parks Museum on Saturday 21 January, where visitors can now view National Library displays telling the story of Scotland’s memories of cinema.

The display, which will remain at the museum until 12 March 2023, has themes including cinemas through the ages, representations of Scotland on the silver screen, Scottish locations used for major productions, the golden era of cinema, fandom and Scotland’s rich history of documentary filmmaking.

Calum MacGillivray, Exhibitions Officer at the National Library of Scotland, said: “Scotland is and always has been a nation of film lovers. The majority of us have been to the cinema at least once, and some will recall the glamour and excitement of it all from decades past.

“Our display covers early portrayals of Scotland and its people – from tartan heroes and romantic landscapes to quirky locals and harsh city living. But we have since reclaimed our own stories for the screen with a burgeoning film and documentary making tradition.

“We hope it will evoke memories of the films, people and cinemas that have been significant in people’s lives.”

Facts on the history of Scottish cinema include:

  • Scotland’s first ever film screening at the Empire Palace in Edinburgh (now the Festival Theatre) in 1896 failed to excite, with audiences at the time preferring live variety acts. A critic for The Scotsman said that ‘the exhibition somehow missed fire’.
  • The makers of Brigadoon and its star Gene Kelly couldn’t find the location they wanted in Scotland and instead built their own version in Los Angeles.
  • The first Oscar for a Scottish film went to Seawards the Great Ships – a poetic study of shipbuilding on the Clyde. It won best short film in 1961.

Footage from the Moving Image Archive will complement the display. For more information, visit the National Library of Scotland website.


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