The Tolbooth Museum reached a landmark on Sunday (20th November) when Ian and Eileen Taylor of Montrose became the 10,000th and 10,001st visitors to visit the Museum since the Museum began operations under the Tolbooth Group on 28th May this year. Mr and Mrs Taylor were welcomed to the Museum by the Chair of the Tolbooth Group, Peter Bellarby, and Lorraine Grant, Cultural Services Manager, Aberdeenshire Council. The visitors were presented with a certificate to mark the occasion and a voucher to be used at the Tolbooth Restaurant by Bill Howatson, Provost of Aberdeenshire.
Provost Bill Howatson makes the presentation to Ian and Eileen Taylor – Jim Bruce looks on
They were then shown round the Museum by volunteer curators Jacqui Harrold and Shona Barclay. Shona was able to show the visitors a scrap book that she had compiled. This had cuttings in it about the award of the first Saltire Society award for Studies in Scottish Heritage to pupils of Mackie Academy, Shona included, in 1963. The pupils had made a representation of the life of fisherfolk as it was a hundred years earlier in 1863. They performed a playlet at the award ceremony held in Stonehaven Town Hall. Later in the year the pupils repeated this before the Queen Mother when she came to open the Tolbooth Museum.
Provost Howatson said: “This is a landmark event for the Tolbooth Museum and the proactive volunteers and their partners are to be congratulated on their efforts to promote the museum and reflect an integral part of Stonehaven’s rich history. It is an excellent example of good partnership working.”
Ms Grant said: “I am delighted to join our Provost here today, both to celebrate the Tolbooth’s impressive visitor numbers, but also to acknowledge the hard work and achievements of all the volunteers who have given so enthusiastically of their time, skills, knowledge and collections to help make the 2011 season such a success. It has been great to see the facility being transformed through such levels of local support, and I hope that the Tolbooth continues to attract such capable volunteers in the years to come.”
Peter Bellarby said: “Many thanks are due to the Tolbooth Restaurant, which is situated above the Museum on the first floor, for donating the voucher to be used in the restaurant. The Tolbooth Restaurant, with its sea food specialities, is another visitor attraction in Stonehaven and it is good to see the Museum and Restaurant working together.”
The Tolbooth Museum has been operated by the Tolbooth Group, a community partnership between Stonehaven Town Partnership, and Stonehaven and District Community Council, opening for the first time under the new arrangements on 28th May 2011. It has been operated entirely by volunteers and there are now over 40 volunteers. It has also been a fruitful partnership with Aberdeenshire Council Museums Service, which has provided some of the artefacts on display as well as providing help and advice. Other artefacts have been loaned by Stonehaven Heritage Society, Jim Bruce, and other local residents and groups. Jim Bruce is an avid collector of bygones and has loaned a significant number of items, most recently to recreate what a 1950’s kitchen looked like.
Over the Summer it has been open 6 days a week. Such has been the enthusiasm generated that the Museum is continuing to be open during the Autumn and coming Winter on Saturdays and Sundays, something that has not been done in the past, and is continuing to attract visitors at these times.
The Tolbooth has attracted a large number of visitors from both near and far as well as many locals. There have been visitors from as far away as the Falkland Islands, New Zealand and Vietnam.