Arte­facts to play part in mu­seum’s anniversary

First time much of Peter­head col­lec­tion has been on dis­play

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - LOCAL NEWS - BY TAMSIN ROSS

In­cred­i­ble items from the north-east’s sto­ried history form part of a ma­jor new ex­hi­bi­tion cel­e­brat­ing the 125th anniversary of Ar­buth­not Mu­seum.

The Peter­head-based mu­seum has been the set­ting for learn­ing and dis­cov­er­ies since 1893, hav­ing been built from the town’s own gran­ite to ac­com­mo­date a li­brary and mu­seum for lo­cals.

Although the col­lec­tion it­self be­gan to take shape un­der the guid­ance of lo­cal mer­chant Adam Ar­buth­not in 1773, it lay ‘hud­dled’ in other build­ings af­ter his death in 1850 un­til the mu­seum’s cre­ation.

The new dis­play, named Happy Anniversary Ar­buth­not Mu­seum, in­cludes pic­tures from when it first opened, jew­ellery found in the sur­round­ing ar­eas, a drum and a col­lec­tion of tele­phones, among other arte­facts.

One of the key ex­hibits is a large wooden pipe, once used by John Brown, Queen Victoria’s ded­i­cated and beloved at­ten­dant.

Mu­se­ums de­vel­op­ment co-or­di­na­tor Fiona Slat­tery Clark has curated the ex­hibit and said: “This place is a real gem for Peter­head and peo­ple come in and say ‘wow’.

“We’ve a good sized gallery filled with the col­lec­tion which we started work­ing on in May.

“What’s on dis­play are re­cent ac­qui­si­tions mostly found in 2015 to 2017 with a few arche­o­log­i­cal arte­facts found in 2007.

“This is the first time most of these items have been on dis­play.

“Much of it has been do­nated – such as the col­lec­tion of Gray fam­ily ma­te­rial from New Zealand – while many of the jew­ellery items were found by metal de­tec­torists and do­nated to the Aberdeen­shire Mu­seum Ser­vice.”

Saskia Gib­bon, arts and her­itage man­ager, said: “We’re us­ing the celebration to show off the col­lec­tion.

“It’s not all about Peter­head but it’s im­por­tant as Adam Ar­buth­not was born here, went on his trav­els and brought back many items and pic­tures.

“For this ex­hibit, we’ve tried to mir­ror the grandeur and the mu­seum style from then when the walls were cov­ered in pic­tures.”

Coun­cil­lor Anne Stir­ling, chair­woman of the coun­cil’s com­mu­ni­ties com­mit­tee, said the ex­hi­bi­tion was ex­cep­tional.

She said: “We need to pay trib­ute to the cu­ra­tors who brought this to­gether – it’s a huge op­por­tu­nity for the peo­ple to con­nect and raise their own aware­ness of the history of the area.

“The ex­hibits on dis­play all pro­vide a strong sense of place, cel­e­brat­ing Aberdeen­shire’s peo­ple, our farm­ing, fish­ing, whal­ing, ar­chae­ol­ogy and ar­chi­tec­ture.”

Lo­cal coun­cil­lor Alan Fak­ley added: “It’s a fan­tas­tic fa­cil­ity and the town needs it. I hope it con­tin­ues to de­velop and goes on for an­other 125 years or moves to a more be­spoke lo­ca­tion with ac­cess for all in the town.”

The anniversary it­self will be cel­e­brated with a Vic­to­rian-style tea party on Oc­to­ber 12. The ex­hibit runs un­til Jan­uary 2019.

RARE: Coun­cil­lor Anne Stir­ling, left, and Fiona Slat­tery Clark ex­am­ine the pipe made and smoked by Queen Victoria’s ser­vant, John Brown

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