Almond Valley

Our Museum Collection

Since 1982 Almond Valley (and our precursor organisations) have collected a wide range of museum objects that record and illustrate many aspects of West Lothian's past. Our current collecting policy considers social and industrial history throughout West Lothian, but focuses particularly on areas of the county that share a heritage of shale mining and oil production.

In addition to this local role, the museum has a national remit to collect museum and archive material associated with the the Scottish shale oil industry and its influence world wide. This collection has been recognised by the Scottish Government as being on national importance.

Collecting began two decades after the closure of the shale industry in Scotland, so regrettably there has been no opportunity to preserve structures and large items of equipment that characterised shale oil production. A good range of smaller objects have fortunately survived, being donated to the museum from both official sources (notably former BP plants at Pumpherston and Grangemouth) and from individuals with associations to the industry. This breadth of material happily encompasses both official company histories and the personal histories of the individuals and communities that served the industry.

Almond Valley is also custodian of the “BP archive”; the surviving company records of the shale oil companies which amalgamated to form Scottish Oils Ltd; ultimately part of the BP group. This unique resource includes detailed records of the activities of some Scottish oil companies, although the scope and coverage of the archive is sadly far from comprehensive.

Through displays and many other activities, the museum works to share the heritage of the shale oil industry with a popular audience. A programme of research and digitisation, supported by a hard-working band of volunteers, also works to make museum resources freely and universally accessible to specialist audiences throughout the world though the ScottishShale website.

Almond Valley maintains close working links with Scotland's other Recognised collections, and is proud to be an active member of Industrial Museums Scotland, and of the Oil Museums in Europe group.