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Fife Folk Museum
Fife Folk Museum
The Fife Folk Museum, opened in 1968, comprises of an extensive collection illustrating the domestic, social, agricultural and industrial way of life of country people prior to the industrial revolution.
In 1984 the museum was awarded third in the Scottish Museum of the Year Award and its new extension gained a Civic Trust Commendation. In 1985 it was awarded a Europa Nostra Diploma of Merit for its "admirable restoration and adaptation through voluntary dedication of the 17th century Weigh House and adjoining cottages as the Folk Museum".
The museum is located in the old Weigh house and two adjoining weaver's cottages. There is a varied collection of exhibits depicting tradesmen's tools from the past, including those of the weaver, baker, cobbler, blacksmith and farmer. The museum also contains a recreated tradesman's cottage complete with spinning wheel and original box-bed. Also on display in this part of the museum are fine examples of patented gadgets like the early vacuum cleaner, the iron pressure cooker, the marmalade cutter and the Hotpoint Washing Machine (complete with iron attached).
The museum would not be truly historical if it did not have a collection of clothing worn by the ancestral families. The clothing in the Museum Collection dates from the 18th century to the middle of the 20th century. This collection includes gowns that were worn for balls, presentations, dinners or family celebrations like weddings and christenings. There are also items of clothing that were worn when in mourning, together with maternity garments worn by the women folk. Fine examples of old patchwork quilts and rag rugs can be seen on display here.
Part of the museum has a display of some beautifully illustrated children's books. Dolls, dressed in all-handmade clothing, representing examples of the fashion in past centuries, are also set out here.
Fife was once seen as a favourable area for Agriculture and the museum has a section to illustrate this. Machinery that was used for ploughing and tilling the land, together with implements for harvesting and storing the crops can be seen. The museum also has a selection of exhibits used in the care of the working farm animals - stone troughs and turnip cutters as well as bits and snaffles, clippers and shears. The blacksmith-farrier was an essential element of support for the farming community, and locally used tools of the blacksmith, the cartwright, the cooper and the miller are included in the collections.
Helen Armitage, the curator, assures all visitors to the Fife Folk Museum of a real warm Scottish welcome.
The care and maintenance of the precious Museum collection has a very high profile in Helen's remit. But a social inclusion policy, maximum accessibility for all and stringent standards of accountability also feature prominently in the stewardship of the Museum.
There are very exciting plans underway for the creation of an exhibition, inspired by the changing status of, for example, an agricultural plough - once an everyday tool, becoming a museum object, then finally becoming a work of art. The plough being used for the exhibition is one of the pieces that can be seen at the Fife Folk Museum. Watch out for this exhibition in the National Museum later in the year.
Some of the earliest remains of human settlement in Scotland were found near Tentsmuir Forest in North East Fife. They date from around 6000 BC.