What do you think?

by Sandra Scott

Do you think Dalry needs a museum?  I do. We have such a wealth of history in the town.  Bessie Dunlop, the Covenanters at Pedens Point, first Burns club, coal mines, wildlife, a poet etc.  I sure the list is endless.  I think we need a museum for the locals and visitors  alike.  It would be great for school projects amongst other things.  What do you think?  I even have an idea where it should be but nothing is certain at the moment.  I have arranged a meeting with a council offical to try and find out what, if any, help they can give.  If you are interested please contact me at staslt@aol.com.


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William Harrison says

I don't think Dalry was the first burns' club,they are longest continous club.don't think they were any coal mines but there were iron mines,please correct me if i'm wrong.

 

Sandra Scott says

There were limestone, coal and ironstone mines in Dalry as well as a clay pit at Monkcastle.  And yes the Burns club is not the oldest but "Dalry Burns Club has the longest, continuous record of anniversary dinners in the world;
while other distinguished clubs were established at an earlier date,
none can match Dalry's unbroken record of celebration of the life and works of Robert Burns."

Carol Young says

Dalry already has a museum at Dalgarven Mill but maybe it does not include all the things which you mentioned.  I do think that Dalry could really sell itself with the Bessie Dunlop history.  Could call it the "Blair Witch Project" and host it in the gounds of the Blair.  The Wacky Witch week was good but

more participation for next year.

 

John Harvie says

I think the idea of a museum to showcase our history is a wonderful idea. Don't forget Walter Wingate author of some great poetry including 'Sair Finger'.

 

Billy Long says

Carol, Dalgarven Mill is in the parish of Kilwinning not Dalry originally owned by the monks of Kilwinning Abbey. It would be a great idea but you will need funding from somewhere and will need volunteers to run it. 

BeGreen Dalry says

Having spoken to various folk from the council I have to say that they are interested and excited about the project.  The "history" of Dalry is at the moment housed in Saltcoats at the Heritage Museum, the council would like to see it going back to all local areas.  I have already had a lot of support from the townsfolk and offers of goods and volunteers.  I am at the moment trying to send letters of information to all clubs and groups that may be interested.  If you can tell me who you think it would be a good idea to contact I would be grateful.  There are also a few individuals in the town that I would like to become interested.  Once enough people have come forward I will arrange a meeting. 

Carol Young says

Interested to know who the spokeperson for the council is on this matter.

 

Roger Griffith says

Let's not forget that we already have a North Ayrshire Heritage Centre (NAHC) - a 'centre of excellence', representing all of the communities through its own remit and through the North Ayrshire Heritage Friends (NAHF) group. They are part of the planning effort for a Heritage Trail in North Ayrshire and Dalry would be a significant part of such a project.

It might be best to direct efforts and money towards existing facilities and support NAHC and the 'friends'.

You can find out more by contacting Mark Strachan or Norma Cullen at NAHC.

Lynsey Shaw says

As a social and medical historian, naturally I think museums are an excellent idea.  The only problem I can see here is actually displaying some of the stories.  The problem is with local history museums is that there is 'too much reading and not enough action'.  For example, for Bessie Dunlop - does Dalry have access to 16th century items or would it be as an interactive display with John Hodgart's play being acted out? That is something that you would have to bear in mind - where are we going to get collections and who is going to look after them?  You will need a trained curator and a continuous stream of willing volunteers.  You also need someone to deal with financial donations and a board to decide on what money would be spent on.  Not trying to be negative here, please don't think that but these are matters that are going to have to be carefully planned.  

I think the people of Dalry would be interested in more recent history too.  We fortunately have members of the community who remember the Second World War.  This could allow locals to be interviewed via. an oral history project about their experiences and what the people of Dalry did to 'do their bit'.  Places like the Glasgow Oral History Centre based at Strathclyde Uni are usually willing to help on these projects and provide training for people wishing to embark on oral history projects.  This would create a valuable research tool for historians, as well as satisfying local interest and bringing the community together.  There is also very interesting business history such as the Mill and Pollachi's who were in the town for years!    If it hasn't been suggested, you should test the water with the Heritage Lottery Fund, as they are always excited about projects that bring a community together. This means the young and old alike -  young people should be consulted on what they would like to see.  There is a tendency to shut young folk out when planning local services. When I approached NAC about this when I was 18, I didn't even receive a response, so I am glad that someone else is being taken seriously.  

Best,

 

Lynsey Shaw (Dalry, born and bred - now living in Oxford)

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