Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum

A particularly interesting ecomuseum is the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum. It is predominantly located along the northeastern border between Scotland and England. This ecomuseum uses the Battle of Flodden on the 9th of September 1513, as its point of departure. During the Battle of Flodden many Scottish and English soldiers and noblemen died, as well as the Scottish King James IV. The ecomuseum is composed of 41 physical sites and the intangible traditions and heritage associated to and stemming from the battle. The physical sites include the battlefield, churches, walls, towers, statues, and grave markings and sites. Reenactments, bag piping tunes, and border ride outs are examples of the intangible traditions and heritage.

The history of Flodden 1513

The founding date of this ecomuseum is traced back to 2008 when a small group came together to plan and discuss the upcoming quincentenary of the Battle of Flodden which would occur in 2013. This small group drew up a list of about thirty people and organizations that wanted to be involved in commemorating the event of the battle and further exploring what the battle means for national and regional history. This was the start of the ‘Flodden 500 journey.’ The list of about thirty names termed the ‘Stakeholder’ list grew to eighty names after an initial round of investigative interviews. This larger list regrouped under the name ‘Flodden 500 Steering Group’ and began to host events. The wider community was involved in these events and through these events, twelve sites were selected in order to form the first phase of the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum. Funding and support for the establishment of the ecomuseum came from the EU LEADER program that also employed Project Officers to the ecomuseum.

Momentum continued for the ecomuseum and by the end of 2011, there were about 90 different projects under the Flodden 1513 umbrella. The Stakeholder list also had grown to be over 300 names long and ranging from local residents to large organizations. The original twelve sites have now expanded to 41 sites within the ecomuseum. The ecomuseum was awarded a four-year project from the Heritage Lottery Fund to expand the number of sites, further archaeological knowledge, research documents and archives, and to improve teaching opportunities for children. This project, named The Flodden 500 Project, transpired from 2012 through 2016.

In February of 2017, the ecomuseum published a very positive report of the results from the project. This report includes contributions from personnel, volunteers, archivists, teachers, archaeologists, and students all remarking on the work done during the project and providing accounts of their personal involvement. The report is available on the Flodden 1513 website, it is 46 chapters long and has the title Flodden: Legends & Legacy.

A glance at Flodden 1513

Beginning with Davis’ five indicators, the befitting of Flodden 1513 to the ecomuseum model will now be explored. The first indicator deals with the territory and bounds of the ecomuseum. Flodden 1513 is the United Kingdom’s first cross-border ecomuseum. The sites of the ecomuseum are located throughout both England and Scotland. The greatest concentration of sites is around the actual battlefield site and in the area of Northumberland and the Borders region. Go here for more information about the local sites. The territory of Flodden 1513 is one most definitely marked with unconventional bounds. The reason why the sites are so spread out across the two countries is because in-situ conservation is used by Flodden 1513. This speaks to Davis’ second indicator that deals with a fragmented-site policy which Flodden 1513 has clearly adopted.

Flodden 1513 has a unique and somewhat complex structuring of its cooperation and liaison set up. The ownership of the ecomuseum sites is not a conventional setup, attesting to Davis’ third indicator. From the earliest beginnings of Flodden 1513, partnership and cooperation have been critical. The fourth indicator deals with the community, its empowerment, participation, and identity making. Flodden 1513 is a not-for-profit ecomuseum that relies heavily upon the volunteered and donated hours of members of the community. The community was actively involved from the start and continued its involvement through the development of the ecomuseum.

One of the ecomuseum’s main goals is to provide a holistic interpretation and approach to the Battle of Flodden. Interdisciplinarity is the subject of Davis’ fifth indicator and is central to the ecomuseum. There are three central disciplines or tactics employed by the ecomuseum to promote tourism and community involvement, archaeology, education, and archival and other document research. Through the participation of community members and visitors that participate along these three disciplines, the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum allows for a comprehensive representation of the Battle of Flodden and its ensuing history.

Flodden 1513
The Flodden Battlefield with Branxton Steads in the background. Image source: Christine Westerback via Wikimedia Commons


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