The museum built by volunteers opens

Exhibits at new museum of Biggar and Upper Clydesdale
Exhibits at new museum of Biggar and Upper Clydesdale

AFTER four years of hard slog, a museum built by volunteers opens it doors to the public on Tuesday.

Not a council nor a government project, the new museum of Biggar and Upper Clydesdale has involved almost everyone in the area, with the first phase being to raise enough money to buy the derelict Stephens garage site in the High Street.

That involved fundraising at its most basic level, from jumble sales to fashion shows, to dinners, while Biggar Museum Trust chairman James Dawnay and his fellow trustees launched appeals for money from anyone with any connection with the area.

Donations poured in, including a massive contribution from the new Clyde Wind Farm.

The new museum replaces both Moat Park and Gladstone Court Museum, which were judged no longer fit for purpose by 21st century standards.

Plans to sell Moat Park for housing continue quietly in the background.

Now the new museum is fully fitted out, and ready to open.

It has recreated the alleyways of Gladstone Court, taken another look at some of the Moat Park displays, and installed new attractions.

Its special exhibition room, built to the highet modern standard, means that it can borrow works from national galleries.

The opening exhibition there is “When the Elephant Came to the Fair”, the works of James Howe (1780-1836), a Scottish artist who painted animals. This will be a unique opportunity to see paintings, usually in private collections.

The museum’s summer opening hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday to Saturday, and 1pm-5pm on Sunday.

Admission is free for those living in the ML12 postcode area, although they must produce proof of that on their first visit.

Curator Dr Suzanne Rigg commented: “We are now looking forward to welcoming visitors - and we really hope they’ll be inspired by what they see”.