We conserve and curate rich heritage collections of more than 100,000 historical and contemporary maps and atlases, and a wide variety of fascinating books, journals, papers, photographs, glass lantern slides, drawings, paintings, scientific instruments and personal artefacts. These reflect our involvement with a diversity of geographical issues and people, relating to the whole world but especially to Scotland and the many areas of the world explored and settled by Scots.

William Cuthbertson, Artist on the Scotia, 1902-04

Items in the collection form a valuable part of Scotland’s heritage, often providing the sole records of people, places and events, including unique items such as photographic records of early polar exploration, photographs by and of eminent explorers and mountaineers, expedition reports and diaries, and the RSGS’s own archive.

An RSGS 'Ephemera Book'

In recent years, we have made our collections publicly accessible for the first time through displays and exhibitions, and we regularly share their stories through printed and electronic media.

Beschrijuinge van een deel vann Schottlandt van Bambourg tot Aberdein daer Edenburg de princepaele.
Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer, Amsterdam, c1589