skip to content

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology






South Lecture Room

A surprising glimpse onto the trajectory of a seemingly typical Scottish fabric across four continents.

Observe the story of how tartan kilts of the British Army’s Highland regiments influenced the development of madras fabric in British-occupied India, which was shipped to the Caribbean and became incorporated into the national dress and material culture of Caribbean islands. Follow the story as it continues through Kenya and South Africa, leaving a legacy of cultural influence.

Tartan is a community-curated project by the Costume Institute for the African Diaspora, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It comes to MAA following a successful run at Craft Central in Clerkenwell and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The exhibition will feature examples of how tartan has been used and re-imagined from Africa to the Caribbean and back to the UK.

A documentary produced for the exhibition (35 minutes) can be seen here.


Two million years of human history. One million artefacts. Countless astonishing stories.