Flagship museum for Scotland’s ancient capital

A stunning new cultural facility showcasing the architectural and social history of the ancient city of Dunfermline has opened its doors to great acclaim.

Creatively combining old with new, the Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries is the culmination of a 10-year project which received £2.8 million funding from the National Lottery. The new museum joins two historic buildings, including the original Carnegie Library (the first of 2,600 libraries worldwide funded by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie) and includes a purpose-built modern extension overlooking the grounds of Dunfermline Abbey.

“It’s wonderful to see the original Carnegie Library come back to life in this way.”

The Abbey and Palace were founded in the 11th century when Malcolm III established it as a new seat for royal power while the nearby Abbey Church contains the tomb of Robert the Bruce. The city also has an important collection of industrial heritage from the 18th to the 20th centuries relating to its once thriving textile, pottery and coal industries which will be showcased in the new museum.

After a morning of exploring, Rosemary Summerson, 62, offered her verdict: It’s wonderful to see the original Carnegie Library come back to life in this way. When I went through to the new children’s library it was refreshing to see another generation so engaged. This is all for them, after all, isn’t it? The amount of babies and youngsters in there today – that’s indicative of what’s to come. We haven’t lost our love of education.”

The facility is home to a museum over two floors, three temporary exhibition galleries, a café, a shop, a new children’s library and the Reading Room – a local history, study and archives space.

“…with the help of National Lottery funding, they have a produced a museum worthy of the ancient capital of Scotland”Lucy Casot, Head of HLF in Scotland

Heather Stuart, Chief Executive of Fife Cultural Trust, said: “This building and all that will happen within it from here on will play a key role in the regeneration of Dunfermline through culture and heritage. Thanks to the dedication and commitment shown by the project team, staff and over 450 volunteers, we have created a vibrant visitor attraction that will be enjoyed for many generations to come.”

The new cultural hub hopes to attract up to 280,000 visitors each year, and contribute an annual visitor spend of around £500,000 to the local economy.

Lucy Casot, Head of HLF in Scotland, said: “Spring signifies the beginning of new things and for Carnegie Library and Galleries that couldn’t be truer. The community can congratulate themselves that, with the help of National Lottery funding, they have a produced a museum worthy of the ancient capital of Scotland. I look forward to seeing it blossom.”