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Abbot House, Maygate, Dunfermline, KY12 7NE
ABBOT HOUSE in Dunfermline's Maygate is the town's oldest dwelling house, and has now been converted in recent years to a HERITAGE CENTRE. Abbot House opened to the public in 1995 and has been presented with awards from the Scottish Tourist Board and the Scottish Museums Council for the quality of its visitor attractions.
In the past, Abbot House has been an Abbot's home, an art school, a mansion, a blacksmith's forge, and a doctors' surgery. Due to the extensive research and tasteful refurbishment programme done to the building, it now boasts a variety of displays illustrating the history of Dunfermline and Scotland from Pictish times, through the middle ages, to modern day.
Climb the stairs in Abbot House and at each floor level you will be transported back in time to witness centuries of Scottish history. Marvel at how Robert the Bruce could wield such a mighty sword. Be thrilled by the atmospheric video, audio and light display which introduces the history of Dunfermline as seen from the viewpoint of Abbot House's resident, friendly ghost - a medieval Benedictine monk. Delight at how Dunfermline's medieval period is beautifully presented in the St. Margaret room - where a colourful representation of the Abbey Nave featuring a reconstruction of the head shrine of St. Margaret can be seen.
Throughout Abbot House you encounter some of the historic characters that have lived in Dunfermline - for example the writer and herbalist, Lady Anne Halkett, the poet Robert Henryson and the world famous industrialist, Andrew Carnegie - you could swear they are alive.
The modern ages of Dunfermline are also featured in the Abbot House exhibition - including the industrial revolution, textile production and coal mining (which at one time was one of the largest providers of employment in Fife).
During World War II an ATC Squadron used part of Abbot House and here you can relive the tension of an air raid through a compelling audio and light presentation. In the eerie darkness of the war room, feel the hair on the back of your neck rise as you hear the air-raid sirens sound their wailing cry. Thrill to the drone of the approaching Nazi bombers as piercing searchlights scan the cloud-filled sky and anti aircraft guns pepper the chill night air. While in the background, the sonorous voice of Winston Churchill can be heard stirring the nation to victory.
Relive the golden era of cinema, theatre and musicals in the Art Deco room which features authentic film and theatre posters and other memorabilia from the world of entertainment. Swing to the sounds of the sixties in the 1964 room while you gaze nostalgically at period furniture, old magazines, a colourful juke box and an old television set in a recreated sixties living room. Here you will also see a magnificent model of the Ferry that once plied its choppy way across the river Forth from North to South Queensferry.
Enjoy a stroll in the gardens of Abbot House, designed in the style of a 17th century herb/formal garden and lovingly tended by volunteers to produce a bounty of intoxicating fragrance. The gardens also feature decorative gates, a fountain, a pergola and a sundial - inspired by Pictish designs.
Browse in the Abbot House souvenir shop, packed with all kinds of mementoes. Don't even try to resist the homely aroma of the very popular café that serves home-made baking, hot meals and snacks throughout the day.
Open 363 days of the year, a warm welcome by the very friendly, dedicated and happy team of volunteers awaits you at ABBOT HOUSE HERITAGE CENTRE, DUNFERMLINE. Have a chat with them and you will be enthralled by their knowledge, their enthusiasm, their commitment and their vision of the future for Abbot House.
Keep your eye open for the excellent and varied programme of events which are presented in Abbot House throughout the year. Treat your friends and family to a visit and they will be guaranteed a very special day out, for this is a real gem in the crown of Scotland's many delightful visitor attractions.