The Scottish Tartans Museum planned two events to honor "Tartan Day" on April 2, and April 6, which is the 653rd anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Arbroathe in 1320.
During this period, the English kings were absolute monarchs while the Scottish kings were less powerful. England needed the raw materials of the Scottish highlands to fight land battles with France during this period. In fact, England owned some French land along the English Channel. The English Army invaded Scotland frequently and often defeated their weaker armies. The Scottish chiefs assembled at Arbroathe Abbey on the west coast of Scotland at the request of the Bishop of Arbroathe. Addressed to the Pope, who was the most powerful leader in Europe, they composed a document of Independence from England. The treaty expressed free and equal tennents for all citizens, well ahead of its time.
Since so many of the signers of our Declaration of Independence either came from Scotland or had Scottish heritage, the Treaty of Arbroathe formed the basis for our request for freedom from Britain. A printed copy of the treaty is exhibited in the Scottish Museum. It is in Latin written on sheepskin. The clan seals of the consenting barons are exhibited below their signatures on the document.
"Tartan Day" is a nationally recognized day of celebration of Scottish heritage in the United States. New York City has a big Tartan Day Parade. Scottish members of Congress wear their kilts to work. At the Franklin museum, tours of the collection will be offered free of charge, and refreshments will be served by the Friends.
Earlier in the week on Tuesday, April 2, The Friends of the Museum presented two Scottish American artists in a Tartan Day Program at the First united Methodist Church. Andrew Bennett, a weaver, talked on "Making Your Scottish Costume from Scratch." He exhibited several hand woven costumes, wool kilts and linen chemises, that he had woven and sewn himself. Warren Riley presented a musical program of rarely heard Old Celtic ballads on the pennywhistle flute. A covered dish dinner followed.
Submitted by Eleanor Swift, president of Friends of the Scottish Tartans Museum.