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A (Virtual) Celebration of Scotland's Treasures

A (Virtual) Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures took place on September 29, 2020 and we are grateful to all the individuals from across the United States (and beyond!) who came together to affirm the Trust’s work and to celebrate our American foundation’s 20th anniversary. Thanks to this generous support, our first-ever virtual event raised more than $83,000. NTSUSA has committed $500,000 to the Save Our Scotland emergency campaign, of which nearly $300,000 already has been donated by generous American supporters and from our own reserves. Gala proceeds will help us to complete our pledge to the Trust so that properties can reopen to the public and staff can continue their important work conserving Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage.

Read on to learn more about A (Virtual) Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures and our 2020 Great Scot Award Honoree, Denise Mina.

Special Appearances by

Mark Beaumont | The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry | Alan Cumming | Curt DiCamillo | Christopher Forbes | Clan Forbes Society, Inc. | Clan Irwin Association| Billy Kay | Phyllis Logan | Fiona MacKenzie | Clan MacRae Society of North America | Alexander McCall Smith | Alastair McCulloch | Maureen McMullan | Alasdair Nichol | James C. Richardson | Andy Scott | Joni Smith | Kate Taylor
and many others

7:00PM EDT Virtual Celebration
7:30PM EDT Live Auction conducted by Alasdair Nichol

Silent Auction will open at noon on 22 September and will run through 9PM EDT on 29 September.

A (Virtual) Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures

Each April, The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA’s A Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures gala raises thousands of dollars to support the conservation of Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage. Because we were unable to gather in New York this spring – our milestone 20th anniversary year – due to the coronavirus pandemic, we missed the opportunity to raise vital funds on behalf of the National Trust for Scotland.

Committed to helping the Trust weather this time, we are delighted to host our first-ever virtual event and invite you to join us here on Tuesday, September 29, for an evening of special performances, updates from Scotland, and a live and silent auction. Moving our celebration online will allow us to highlight more of the Trust’s work on the ground in Scotland – especially at sites like Glencoe and Culloden that hold special meaning for Americans.

The highlight of the program will be the virtual presentation of the Great Scot Award by New York Times best-selling author Laura Lippman to Scottish crime novelist Denise Mina, author of Conviction and The Long Drop.

Proceeds from A (Virtual) Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures will support the international campaign to Save Our Scotland. This year, the Trust is expected to lose over $35 million in earned income from the closure of our historic sites due to the coronavirus pandemic. Together, we can ensure the future of the Trust and its irreplaceable natural and cultural treasures.

Denise Mina

2020 Great Scot Award Honoree

Denise Mina is a Scottish crime writer and playwright. Born in East Kilbride in 1966, due to her father’s profession as an engineer, the family moved 21 times in 18 years: from Paris to The Hague, London, Scotland and Bergen. Mina left school at sixteen and worked in a variety of low-skilled jobs. In her twenties, however, she returned to education, earning an undergraduate degree from Glasgow University Law School and a PhD from Strathclyde. It was while researching a PhD thesis and teaching criminology and criminal law at Strathclyde University in the 1990s, that she decided to write her first novel Garnethill, published in 1998, which won the Crime Writers Association John Creasy Dagger for Best First Crime Novel. In 2014 she was inducted into the Crime Writers’ Association Hall of Fame.

Mina has now published 13 novels and also writes short stories, plays, and graphic novels. Her 2019 novel Conviction was selected as a Reese Witherspoon book club pick and New York Times Best Crime Novel of the Year. She presents TV and radio programs as well as regularly appearing in the media, and at literary festivals. In addition, she leads masterclasses on writing, and was a judge for the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction 2014. Mina lives in Glasgow, the frequent setting of her novels.

“We are thrilled to honor one of the leading voices in contemporary crime fiction at such an exciting moment in her career,” said Charlotte Lyeth Burton, chair of The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA. “Denise Mina’s novels brings the gritty city of Glasgow to life for readers from far beyond Scotland. In many ways, the city itself is a character as much as it is the setting for her work.”

The National Trust for Scotland cares for nearly 100 natural and cultural heritage properties across Scotland, including several important sites in Glasgow that have literary connections to Ms. Mina’s work: Alexander “Greek” Thomson’s Holmwood House and the Tenement House, located in the Garnethill neighborhood.

Live and Silent Auction

Silent Auction

12:00PM EDT September 22 – 9PM EDT September 29

Live Auction

7:30PM EDT September 29 conducted by Alasdair Nichol

A Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures is our most important fundraising event of the year and the auction plays a significant role in our success. Featuring both a live and silent auction, there are opportunities for guests to bid on items at every price point.

Alasdair Nichol, chairman and co-owner of Freeman’s and a popular appraiser on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow will preside over the virtual live auction featuring favorite Scottish brands and experiences that can be enjoyed from the comfort of home.

Live and silent auction preview now available here.

NTSUSA would like to thank the following individuals for their invaluable support of the auction: Derek Alexander, Cherie Burton, Mrs. I.W. Colburn, David Hopes, Alistair McCulloch, Robert Rapson, Paul Roberts, David Ross, Andy Scott and Hanneke Scott-van Wel, Naoma Tate, and Alicia Volk. Special thanks to Bob Titley and Luxury Scotland who support our travel lots every year, but we had to put on hold for now – we can’t wait to see you in Scotland again soon!

Auction Sponsors

2019 A Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures Image Gallery

About the Great Scot Award

The Great Scot Award is presented annually to a Scot or American who has contributed to the countries’ shared heritage. The recipient is selected by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and the award presentation is the highlight of the annual gala, A Celebration of Scotland’s Treasures. Honorees include Billy Connolly (pictured here with presenter Alan Cumming, also a Great Scot Award honoree), Phyllis Logan, Ken Burns, and Alexander McCall Smith. Most recently, the Great Scot Award was presented to Denise Mina, Scottish crime writer and playwright. Below you will find a full list of past Honorees.

Great Scot Award Honorees

  • Honorees 2008-2017


    Ken Burns

    Documentary filmmaker and kinsman of Scottish poet Robert Burns.


    Phyllis Logan

    Actor, best known for her roles as Mrs. Hughes on Downton Abbey and Lady Jane Felsham on Lovejoy.


     Sir Billy Connolly

    Stand up comedian, actor, musician, TV presenter, and artist


    Richard Scott

    10th Duke of Buccleuch and the 12th Duke of Queensbury


    Ian Gow

    Chief Curator, National Trust for Scotland


    The International Alliance for the Advancement of Scottish Roots Music


    Mrs. Thomas J. Hubbard



    Christopher Forbes

    Vice chairman of Forbes Inc., noted collector and connoisseur


    Alan Cumming

    Award-Winning Actor, Singer, Writer, Producer, Director, and Author


    Alexander McCall Smith

    Internationally Acclaimed Author

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