The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) was established by Royal Charter in 1908, in response to widespread concern at the destruction of historical monuments, to make a list or Inventory of the surviving heritage from earliest times up to the year 1707.
Today, RCAHMS holds Scotland’s national collection of buildings, archaeology and industry, a comprehensive archive of Scottish buildings and landscapes covering from prehistory to the present day which contains millions of photographs, maps and drawings. RCAHMS also works to record, investigate and photograph changing architecture and archaeology across Scotland.
Around 100,000 new items are added to RCAHMS Collection every year, notably archaeological and architectural drawings as well as aerial and historic photographs.
RCAHMS National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP) is one of the largest and most important collections of aerial photographs in the world. RCAHMS Collections are made available to the public, they can be accessed at their search room and many records can be viewed online on their searchable website Canmore.
RCAHMS’ expert staff share their knowledge and skills through various networks and community outreach programmes. The learning website Scran delivers to over 4000 institutions, giving students, teachers, library users and members of the public access to over 370,000 images, video and audio from museums, galleries, archives and the media.
RCAHMS is a charitable enterprise with all income being reinvested into developing the National Collection and making it accessible and available.
RCAHMS strategic priorities are set out in the document Future RCAHMS – Business Strategy – the next five years 2010-15.