A Collection of National Importance to Scotland

Our Scottish shale oil collection began in 1983, a little more than two decades after the closure of the last shale oil plant in Scotland. In those early days, the trainee workers of a community project toured local venues to record reminicences and exhibit their growing collection of shale relics. With experience of the shale industry still fresh in the memory, local residents were happy to donate tools, family papers, and personal mementoes that had been stashed away in their homes and garages.

These treasures passed to Almond Valley in 1990, when it became formally constituted as a museum. At that time, a little of the working legacy of the shale industry still survived at BP's Grangemouth refinery and Pumpherston detergent works, and as operations at these sites wound-down or changed, the museum fell heir to a wealth of material otherwise destined for the skip, or squirreled away by long serving staff.

Although the massive structures and machinery of the shale industry disappeared long before the museum was formed, a remarkable range of other evidence has survived, ranging in scale from a railway wagon to a microscope slide. These objects and records represent every aspect of this extraordinary and diverse industry and the proud communites that served it.

The collection is still growing, with new additions sometimes illustrating remarkable stories of survival.

Do you hold further treasures?

Despite our efforts over 40 years, there remain gaps in the collection, and areas of shale oil endeavour that are terribly under represented. We're always delighted to hear from those with items that might be potential acquisitons to the collection.