The Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre near Inverness is to be a key part of the celebrations to encourage international family and friends to reconnect and engage with Scotland's heritage during Homecoming 2009.
First Minister Alex Salmond today visited the National Trust for Scotland's interactive exhibition which was opened in December 2007 and has already attracted more than 70,000 visitors.
Mr Salmond said:
"The 1746 Battle of Culloden is a hugely significant part of Scots history. The Culloden Visitor Centre has recreated that experience through its battlefield and interactive exhibition featuring Jacobite characters from the 18th century.
"It is a first class visitor attraction and an innovative record of a vital part of Scotland's history. In 2009, we will have the first ever year of Homecoming, the Scottish Government's drive to encourage as many of our friends and family from around the globe to come home and reconnect with our great history and heritage.
"The Centre is one of hundreds of venues around Scotland hosting events which celebrate Scotland's achievements, history and culture. In May next year, the centre will stage a special weekend of events telling the story of battle of Culloden and its aftermath.
"However, the Centre is not alone in its celebrations in Inverness. The Highland Homecoming, UR Beatha Dhan Duthaich!, will have a series of events over two weeks exploring Scots' influence and place in the world. And the Belladrum Tartan Hearts Festival is already a musical landmark in Scotland's cultural calendar.
"The Culloden Visitor Centre, Inverness and the Highlands, are a key attraction, city and region of Homecoming 2009."
Dee McIntosh, Director of Policy and Communications for the National Trust for Scotland, said:
"As a conservation charity with a key role in preserving and celebrating Scotland's culture, the National Trust for Scotland plans to play a full part in Homecoming 2009. We are fortunate to have many properties all over Scotland with important links to the Homecoming themes, so there will be a lot going on at our properties, including Culloden's fantastic 'Battle to Exile' event. Homecoming 2009 is a great opportunity to raise awareness of Scotland's natural and cultural treasures and we look forward to working closely with the Scottish Government, to play our part in ensuring it is a great success."
The Culloden Visitor Centre was the biggest project ever undertaken by the National Trust for Scotland and cost £9.5 million. It was funded through fundraising and support from a number of bodies:
- National Trust for Scotland public appeal - £1.8 million
- Scottish Government - £3.75 million
- European Regional Development Fund - £2.4 million
- HIE Inverness & East Highland - £350,000
- Bòrd na Gàidhlig - £200,000
Scotland's Homecoming celebrations will run from Burns Night (January 25) to St Andrew's Day (November 30) 209, across more than 50 locations.