House of Dun to be Transformed into Historical Park for AngusNeil Hardie
A top Angus tourist attraction is being completely repurposed next year to tell the story of the county’s history, people and landscape.
Conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland is investing more than £700,000 at the House of Dun, near Montrose, to transform it into a “historical park for Angus.”
It will feature a special installation explaining the county’s part in the ‘birth’ of Scotland through the Declaration of Arbroath almost 700 years ago.
Simon Skinner, NTS chief executive, said: “This is a transformational investment that will offer a rich experience for people of all ages.
“The combination, of house, landscape and artefacts allows us to show how Angus, its people and the land shaped modern Scotland.”
The House of Dun is an A-listed Georgian mansion originally owned by the Erskine family. It was bequeathed to the NTS in 1980 and opened to the public in 1989.
The stables and courtyard area will be redeveloped to house new exhibitions.
They will include displays on the county’s agricultural heritage, food and drink, a theatre, a toy exhibition, an archive room and a celebration of the horse.
The attraction will also provide a permanent home for the Angus Folk Museum collection, removed from Glamis Castle in 2014.
Lady Maitland of Burnside originally assembled the collection, which includes objects depicting over 300 years of history about the people and their relationship with the land.
The work begins early in the New Year and is expected to be completed at the start of August 2020.
Iain Hawkins, NTS North East general manager, said three ‘real’ characters would help visitors understand the county’s story.
He said: “Violet Augusta Mary Frederica Kennedy-Erskine will represent the aristocrats of the 1860s.
“Isabella Peddie, the house cook, will offer views and gossip from ‘downstairs’ and William Young, the overseer, talks about the running of the estate.”
He said the Declaration of Arbroath display would help with recent concern “about the lack of celebration” for the upcoming 700th anniversary.
“In a sense, this was a gift from Angus to secure the future of a nation that was still facing an existential threat,” he said.
“We will be including a special, permanent display to mark the importance of this document in Scotland’s story.
“It was, in effect, a ‘contract’ between the people and the rulers of the nation, which went on to influence modern thoughts on governance, including the USA’s Declaration of Independence,” he added.
The estate includes Dun’s Dish, Montrose Basin, Old Dun Kirk. Erskine Mausoleum and a stretch of the South Esk river.