A new Dunkeld Archive Museum has been established in the town’s historic square thanks to a hugely successful appeal by the trustees of the town’s Chapter House Museum. The aim was to establish a new home for a unique community archive which was previouslly unsuitably and inaccessibly housed in Dunkeld Cathedral. The archive is a remarkable resource comprising photographs, minutes of local societies and records of local families and businesses from the 18th century. The collection also holds a very special set of records of local regiment The Scottish Horse, raised by the Dukes of Atholl for service in the Boer War, and items from the well known local photographer AF Mackenzie whose subjects included Beatrix Potter. These items items together help build a vivid picture of how life was lived in a typical 19th century town.
A prominent site in the north west corner of Dunkeld’s square – known locally as The Cross – was acquired from Perth and Kinross Council for a nominal sum in recognition of the significant community benefit to the town. Research has revealed that this corner of The Cross was originally laid out in 1676 as a formal tree lined avenue leading up to Dunkeld House, the now demolished but once magnificent residence of the Duke of Atholl. The development (shown in the architect’s original concept visuals, top and below) re establishes this vista from The Cross to the parkland beyond and pay homage to the original design rationales of the town square.
A Library Tower, associated with Dunkeld House and recorded in 1685, was believed to have been located close to the site of the new museum. The new development not only reinstates the lost vista but in some measure replaces, 300 years later, a treasure of learning for Dunkeld.
The Archive Museum is open all year from 10-12 on Mondays and Fridays. In the summer months it is also open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The design proposals for this project were prepared by Edinburgh architects Watson Burnett.