Tartan Day on Ellis Island: Scots in the American West

Event News, Heritage

“Tartan Day on Ellis Island” – the nation’s largest Tartan Day celebration – returns for its 13th annual observance with the opening of “Scots in the American West.” The exhibition, produced by Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming opens on Friday, March 28 and runs through Sunday, March 30. The exhibition documents the individual accomplishments of Scots in the American West. “Tartan Day on Ellis Island” is produced by the Clan Currie Society – one of the country’s leading Scottish heritage organizations.


Scots in the American West

In the late 1600s, Glasgow was the European center for the Virginia tobacco trade, and Scots Presbyterian dissenters in search of religious freedom established their own colonies in South Carolina and New Jersey. In the 1700s, population growth, agricultural modernization, and political upheaval in Scotland were the driving forces behind more than 50,000 immigrants crossing the Atlantic, and, as the new Republic looked West toward the end of the century, many of the earliest “over-mountain men” settling the Ohio and Tennessee valleys were of Scots or Scots-Irish descent. It is little wonder then that in the 1800s as the United States expanded into the areas we now think of as the American West; Scots were so much to the fore.

The exhibition also explores the profound impact that Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show made on the people of Scotland during his European tours which took place in 1891-2 and in 1904.

Scots in the American West is made possible by the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Clan Currie Society, the National Trust for Scotland Foundation-USA and the Smithsonian Institution.

Celebrate Tartan Day with Music and Dance

Tartan Day on Ellis Island will also play host to some of the finest Scottish entertainment in New York City, including the Rampant Lion Pipe Band, the NYC Harp Orchestra, 2013 US National Scottish Harp Champion Haley Hewitt, New York Brogue – Celtic music ensemble, and the NY Celtic Dancers.

Performance Schedule:

Friday 11 am – 3 pm

  • Haley Hewitt – clarsach
  • John the Kilted Juggler
  • Scottish Clown Will Shaw
  • Bonnie Greene – Highland Dancer
  • Piper Hank O’Neill

Saturday 11 am – 3 pm

  • NY Brogue featuring champion fiddler Calum Pasqua
  • The NY Celtic Dancers
  • John the Kilted Juggler
  • Scots Clown Will Shaw
  • The Rampant Lion Pipe Band

Sunday 11 am – 3 pm

  • NYC Harp Orchestra
  • The NY Celtic Dancers
  • John the Kilted Juggler
  • Scots Clown Will Shaw
  • The Rampant Lion Pipe Band

All presented free-of-charge.

For additional information, visit www.tartandayonellisisland.com

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