{Scotland} I Capture the Castle

July 6, 2016

Scotland

100 Museums Challenge: Museum No.83

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I’ve just come back from a one week trip to Scotland with the boys. We were visiting a friend in Dundee, and then spent a couple of nights in Edinburgh before flying home. On previous trips to Dundee, I had been to Broughty Ferry before – a suburb of Dundee right next to the beach on the river Tay – but I’d never made it to Broughty Castle Museum. Third time lucky!

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As the name implies, the museum is located inside a castle. Broughty Castle dates back to the late 15th century, and has seen many battles and seiges throughout its history. It eventually fell in to ruin, but was rebuilt in the late 19th century and now houses exhibits on the history of Broughty Ferry, and the landscape and wildlife around it.

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On the first floor, the ‘Broughty Life’ exhibit takes you on a journey through Broughty Ferry’s history, starting with the landscape before the arrival of people, through its times as a prospering fishing and whaling village, and later as a haven for wealthy jute barons in the 19th century. There is also a small shop and a refreshment room on the first floor, with great views of the Tay.

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The gallery on the second floor exhibits the Orchar Collection, one of the most important collections of Scottish Victorian art in the country and named after James Guthrie Orchar (1825-1898), a patron of the arts and former provost of Broughty Ferry. There are around 30 paintings from Orchar’s collection on permanent display.

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The third floor is home to ‘Broughty Life – On Land’, a gallery which focuses on the geology and natural history of the area. This was also the boys’ favourite, as it included a couple of exhibits to touch and explore, activity and colouring in sheets, and relevant children’s books to read.

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Finally, on the fourth floor you will find exhibits on Broughty Ferry’s military history and the defence of the Tay, along with a fantastic viewpoint!

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Broughty Castle Museum is open daily from April to September (10am – 4pm, and from 12:30pm on Sundays), and Tuesdays to Sundays from October to March. Admission is free. Since it is a fortified and listed building with a spiral staircase, there is restricted access for people with limited mobility and wheelchair access is regrettably not possible. We folded up our stroller and left it with the staff at the ticket desk on the first floor (one of them even came and kindly carried it up for us). However, if you can manage the stairs, it’s worth a visit for the views from the fourth floor alone. The kids also really enjoyed the children’s activities, and #MuseumBoy was fascinated by the arms and armour in the military exhibit. If you are visiting Broughty Ferry, a visit to the Broughty Castle Museum is a must!

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