2013 Exhibitions and Events
Saturday 3 February 2013 – January 2014
Who Dares Wins
This new foyer exhibition at Dumfries Museum tells the inspirational story of Captain Cecil Leyland Riding MC, a local man who was parachuted behind enemy lines into Nazi-occupied France. Cecil talked little of his war time experiences during his life. After his death a wicker picnic hamper was found in the attic of his Dumfries home. Inside the hamper was a wealth of documents and memorabilia which tell the story of Cecil’s remarkable experiences during the Second World War. The hamper and its contents have been donated to Dumfries Museum by Cecil’s family and are being exhibited for the first time.
Cecil was born in 1913 and was brought up on the Castlemilk Estate in the parish of St Mungo, near Lockerbie where his father was a gamekeeper. When Cecil left school in 1929 he began work as a trainee Factor, helping to oversee the estate on behalf of the 3rd Baronet, John William Jardine, head of the Jardine Matheson Company. In 1936 Cecil accepted the post of Assistant Factor on the Garscube Estate near Glasgow. Here he met and later married Glaswegian Janie Murray, who worked as a Secretary in the estate office. He also completed his Land Agent’s qualifications.
With the outbreak of the Second World War Garscube House was requisitioned by the Ministry of Works for war use. In 1940 Cecil joined the Coldstream Guards, and a year later he was commissioned into the Highland Light Infantry.
In February 1944 he was recruited into the Special Air Service, better known as the SAS. Three days after D-Day Cecil was parachuted into France, south of Paris, where he remained on special duty behind enemy lines for the next three months as part of Operation Gain. He then took part in the advance into Germany across the Rhine Frontier in March and April 1945 before finally participating in Operation Doomsday as part of the Liberation of Norway. Cecil was awarded five medals for his services in the war including the Military Cross for “gallantry during active operations against the enemy”.
When war was over Cecil went to work as a Factor on the Candacraig Estate, near Strathdon in Aberdeenshire. In 1956 he joined the Bombay Burmah Trading Company working in the timber and forestry industry in Borneo and Burma for many years.
In 1967 he returned to Scotland to work as a land valuation officer with Falkirk District Council. In 1971 Cecil moved to Dumfries to work in a similar position until he retired in 1978. A keen golfer, he was a member of Dumfries and County Golf Club from 1978 until his death in 1998.
The Who Dares Wins exhibition can be viewed in Dumfries Museum foyer until January 2014.
Saturday 9 March – Sunday 2 June
Fabulous Finds – Dumfries and Galloway Archaeology Uncovered
A glittering exhibition of recent archaeological finds from across Dumfries and Galloway. This exhibition celebrates the archaeological discoveries which have found their way into our local museums through the law of Treasure Trove. Under the common law of Scotland, the law of Treasure Trove is based on quod nullius est fit domini regis: “that which belongs to nobody becomes our Lord the King’s [or Queen’s]”. In Scotland all finds, whether made by archaeological excavation, fieldwalking, metal-detecting or by chance are the property of the Crown and are potentially Treasure Trove. For many years these finds were given, as a matter of course, to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Since a change of policy in the early 1990s most Treasure Trove objects are now allocated to appropriate museums in the area local to the find. For museums all across the country Treasure Trove is a valuable tool in preserving and securing the evidence of our past for the future.
Thursday 21 March, 7pm
Fabulous Finds Exhibition talk
Magnus Kirby, CFA Archaeology Ltd: 6000 years of history buried under Lockerbie Academy
In 2006 an archaeological excavation at the site of the new Lockerbie Academy revealed that people had been at the site for at least 6000 years, meeting, trading, feasting, working and carrying out rituals and ceremonies for perhaps as many as 200 generations. Magnus Kirby will talk about the excavation, the objects found and how they reveal the fascinating history of this site.
Thursday 16 May, 7pm
Talk – Swordcraft through the Ages with Andrew Nicholson, Historic Environment Records Officer
Andrew Nicholson will give a talk on how swords were made and used through the ages, complete with demonstrations! In direct combat who would win – the fighter with the Early Iron Age iron sword or the Lockerbie Bronze Age sword? The talk will be followed by refreshments and an opportunity to see replica swords close up, view the exhibition and ask informal questions of Andrew and museum staff. Suitable for all ages.
Saturday 18 May, 2pm – 3.30pm
Cholera! – A guided walk with historian Frances Wilkins
This circular tour reconstructs the dramatic story of the 1832 Dumfries Cholera Outbreak. Where did it start? How fast did it spread? What were the theories about its origin and cure? Where did the victims live? How did the doctors cope? This event coincides with the publication of “A History of Dumfries and Galloway in 100 Documents”, Part 2, which includes a major article on the outbreak based on the Dumfries & Galloway Courier’s weekly reports and comments. Starting and finishing at Dumfries Museum this tour involves easy walking on pavements and footpaths.
Saturday 15 June – Sunday 18 August
The Great Moss
The internationally important Lochar mosses, one of the largest areas of raised bog in Europe, played an important role in the history of Dumfries and Galloway. This exhibition investigates the human and natural history of these peatlands, focusing on archaeological finds from the area and on its unique ecology, including its carbon storage potential. Amongst the fascinating exhibits at Dumfries Museum will be an Iron Age torc and bowl, discovered in the Lochar Moss in the 1840s and returning to the area for the first time in 150 years as one of a handful of 2013 British Museum loans made possible by their Spotlight loan programme. Organised through the British Museum’s Partnership UK Scheme these loans have been funded by the Art Fund prize awarded to the British Museum in 2011.
Part of the British Ecological Society’s Festival of Ecology.
Friday 14 June, 7pm
The Great Moss exhibition launch at Dumfries Museum
Please join us at Dumfries Museum for the official launch of The Great Moss exhibition.
The evening will start with a short talk by Biodiversity Officer Peter Norman who carried out extensive research culminating in this exhibition. Archaeologist John Pickin will join Peter to introduce the fascinating finds from the moss. Refreshments will be served and there will be an informal opportunity to view the exhibition and ask Peter and museum staff questions.
The Great Moss Events
Thursday 27 June, 2pm
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Caerlaverock, Wetlands Centre, Eastpark Farm,Caerlaverock, DG1 4RS
Talk: The Wildlife of The Great Moss with Peter Norman, Biodiversity Officer
Join Peter for an illustrated journey across one of the largest bogs in Western Europe, discovering the wildlife that lives there today and in the past, including Boars, Bitterns and Black Grouse. Watch out for the carnivorous plants! No booking required for this event.
Thursday 27 June, 7pm
at Dumfries Museum
Talk: Celtic Art Dr Jody Joy, Curator, British and European Iron Age Collections at the British Museum
Dr Jody Joy is responsible for the European Iron Age collections at the British Museum. He has a particular interest in Celtic, or La Tène, art as well as research interests in the social significance of metalworking technology; feasting and feasting vessels. This talk will include a discussion of the Lochar Moss Iron Age torc and bowl on loan from the British Museum for The Great Moss exhibition.
The Great Moss excursions
These are for real bog enthusiasts who don’t mind getting their feet (and possibly more) wet. Join biodiversity officer Peter Norman and other experts in peat bog plants, animals and restoration projects for a journey into the heart of The Great Moss. Discover the range of plants and wildlife adapted to this wetland world. Appropriate footwear and waterproofs essential.
Dates and details will be advertised in May.
Numbers will be limited, to book a place please call Dumfries Museum on 01387 253374.
Event 1: Walk on Longbridge Muir
See the results of the bog restoration that took place in 2001 and discover bog plants and animals. This event is being organised in conjunction with Forestry Commission Scotland.
Event 2: Cruck Cottage open day and Ironhirst Moss walk
The Cruck Cottage, an eighteenth century peasants cottage in Torthorwald, will be open for the day. Find out how a peat cutter might have lived and how building materials were sourced from the Moss, both for the original construction and the 1990s restoration of the cottage. For those interested, there will also be a guided walk from Mouswald into Ironhirst Moss to look at the remains of domestic and industrial peat cutting. This event is being organised in partnership with the Cruck Cottage Heritage Association.
Saturday 24 August – Saturday 9 November
Pioneering the use of tripwires and camera traps, Frederick Walter Champion (1893 – 1970) produced some amazing photographs of Indian wildlife in the 1920s and 30s. In his role with the Imperial Forestry Service in India, Champion came in close contact with tourist hunters when he was obliged to hand out hunting permits. It is said that he occasionally indulged his burgeoning preservationist tendencies by handing out permits to areas known to be tiger free! As soon as he was able, Champion went against the fashion for shooting with rifles and took up the camera. The resulting work is stunning and evocative. For the first time viewers were truly able to witness animals in their natural state. The night shots triggered by tripwires were, at the time, completely unique and his work has had a profound effect on many wildlife photographers and conservation supporters since. Fred Champion later retired to a much quieter life at Cairnsmore on the edge of the Galloway Forest Park. His photographs were donated by his family to the Natural History Museum in London. This exhibition celebrates his life’s work with a selection of 50 of his images. The exhibition also includes a slide show of recent work by well known wildlife photographer Keith Kirk.
Thursday 29 August, 7pm
Talk: Contemporary wildlife photography with Keith Kirk
Contemporary wildlife photographer and Countryside Ranger Keith Kirk brings us up to date with the most advanced methods now used in wildlife photography. Illustrated by Keith’s own stunning wildlife images this talk is for people interested in wildlife and those interested in photographic techniques.
Thursday 17 October 7pm
Tripwire for a Tiger: In The Pugmarks of Galloway’s Tigerman
Talk by F W Champion’s grandson, James Champion.
Details in the next programme.
Doors Open Day September 2013
Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura will be participating in Doors Open Days 2013 – look out for details on the web site, www.doorsopendays.org.uk and in the press.
15 September -3 November
Expanding on this year’s foyer exhibition, Down the Dock, this gallery exhibition traces different aspects of Dumfries’ Dock through paintings, drawings, photographs, maps and plans. This small, but highly significant, piece of land is probably the most frequently illustrated view of Dumfries, reflecting just how much of the town’s history is contained there.
There are large scale Ordnance Survey maps from the 1800s, so detailed that mooring posts, cast iron seats, pumps and wells are shown. Very recently released aerial photographs illustrate the development of the Dock Park in the 1920s. Taken in the early days of aviation from extremely low altitudes by ex-First World War pilots these images give an enthralling view of a Dumfries which has
largely disappeared. There are architectural drawings of the park’s original features and a chance to see plans and drawings of the forthcoming regeneration project which will return the Dock Park to its former glory.
Friday 18 May – Sunday 26 August
This unique exhibition brings together prints, weaponry, scroll paintings, lacquer ware, ceramics,
and other fascinating Japanese material from the collections at Dumfries Museum with items kindly
loaned by local people and institutions.
Visitors will be able to see both sides of Japanese culture, comparing striking samurai warrior costume
and tales of heroics with cute netsuke carvings and pretty lacquer boxes. This is a rare chance to see
both the beautiful and the disturbing, and to discover the connections between Japan and Dumfries
Down the Dock
Saturday 25th February – Saturday 29 December 2012
This exhibition reveals the story of Dumfries Dock. The narrow strip of land along the east bank of the
River Nith was not only the town’s harbour, it served as a gathering place, a pasture and a meadow,
provided orchards and nurseries, bleaching fields and drying greens, it was the town’s first ever
industrial area, later becoming a tree-lined riverside promenade, and finally a popular municipal park.
2012 marks the centenary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, and this exhibition will also focus on the
memorial to the disaster which is located in the park, and tells the story of the men from Dumfries
who lost their lives in the accident.
April 15th 2012 marks the centenary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Down the Dock tells the story
of the disaster from a local perspective. A learning pack for local school classes and community
learning groups on Dumfries’ Titanic connections is available from Dumfries Museum, please email
firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone 01387 253374.