Folklore has it that the headlines in the Press&Journal when reporting the sinking of the Titanic was:-
“North East Man Drowns at Sea”
To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this month the Tolbooth museum is holding an exhibition about the Titanic and its connection with the North East of Scotland.
A local model maker from Newtonhill, Andy Bain, has kindly loaned his large models of the Titanic, one to the Maritime Museum in Aberdeen and one to the Tolbooth. The one at the Tolbooth has portholes which light up.
The emphasis of the Tolbooth display will be on the fact that perhaps the headlines in the P&J should have been
“North East Man Does Not Drown at Sea”
Part of the exhibit illustrates the controversial story about the rescue of a prominent North East Landowner, Sir Cosmos Duff Gordon, his wife Lucie Christiana and her secretary, Miss Laura Mabel Francatelli.
The displays in the Tolbooth Museum have been completely revamped for the coming season and include Law and Order. A jail has been built to replicate the period when the Tolbooth was the County Court and Jail. There are displays about RW Thompson, the famous Stonehaven inventor, and local geology with the new model of the fossil Pneumodesmus Newmani found at Cowie.
In addition to the many artefacts provided by Aberdeenshire Museums Service and with thanks to a major local benefactor, Jim Bruce, of Bruce Bygones there is a magnificent display of home and country life throughout the 20th Century. Fishing, Fireballs and the connection with Dunnottar Castle, churches and Old Stonehaven are all represented. There is also a small gift shop and a dinosaur quiz for children.
The Summer opening hours are:
April Fri. – Mon. inclusive 1.30-4.30 pm
May- Sept. Wed. – Mon. inclusive 1.30-4.30pm
From the end of May 2011 till the end of December 2011 there were about 10500 visitors. George Strang, the Management Committee member responsible for the displays said: “I think it would be fair to say that at least 75-80% were tourists. This year we would like to increase significantly the number of local visitors to the Museum . Hence the revamp and our intention to have rotating displays about schooling, Robert Burns’ Father, The Open Air Pool and other aspects of Local Heritage.”
The Tolbooth group are very keen to have the various groups, societies and clubs in the Mearns area visit the Tolbooth and would be prepared to open the Tolbooth by arrangement outwith our stated hours to accommodate the needs of the interested parties. Any group interested in visiting the museum should contact George; contact details are on the Group’s web site:
Stonehaven Tolbooth Museum
George continued: “We have an excellent group of volunteers who help us to keep the museum open 6 days per week in the summer. However we try not over commit our existing volunteers, many of whom assist other groups with voluntary efforts.
“We therefore are always on the lookout for additional help. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer contact me or better still visit the Tolbooth and talk to the volunteers on duty. I am positive that you will be surprised at the enjoyment and satisfaction that they get out of it. We have Curator Notes at the museum and therefore specialist knowledge is not a requirement of being a volunteer. The only commitment is being available, say, once or twice a month and the ability to talk to and listen to the visitors. It becomes addictive.”