The first members of the public have stepped inside the Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries (DCL&G), Fife’s newest cultural hub set in the heart of the town’s Heritage Quarter, following a 10-year design and build project.
The building, on which construction work finished late last year, was opened this week after recently winning Edinburgh Architectural Association’s ‘Building of the Year’ and ‘Large Project of the Year’ awards.
The new museum now joins two B-listed buildings – the existing Carnegie library and a former bank branch – and has a purpose-built modern extension overlooking the grounds of Dunfermline Abbey. 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.
Fife Cultural Trust staff, who manage and operate the facility on behalf of Fife Council, spent recent weeks moving thousands of books, museum objects, precious archives and artworks into the building.
This public opening weekend coincides with the national Festival of Museums, which runs from 19-21 May. A whole week of events for all ages start today, with a memory booth in place to record some of the initial reactions to the new building and family history sessions organised, where visitors can learn how to trace their ancestral roots.
There’s also a ‘scooter salute’ planned for 1pm on Saturday 20th May* and a full range of specialist activities for kids. Listings are available here. DCL&G is now open and admission is free.
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. This is a community project in spirit and a great deal of blood, sweat and tears from so many people have gone into bringing it to life.
“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. It’s a state of the art facility and a fitting celebration of the past, present and future of Dunfermline. We are immensely proud of what we have all created together.”
Steve Grimmond, Fife Council’s chief executive, said: “This impressive new facility in the heart of Dunfermline’s Heritage Quarter is set to be a real cultural asset for Fife.
“It’s been an ambitious and demanding project for those involved but seeing the finished product and the reaction from visitors highlights just how significant this building will be for the town centre. Investing funding in the venture, alongside Heritage Lottery Fund and Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, means that Dunfermline now has a museum fitting to its royal story.”
Richard Murphy, architect of the new facility, added: “Building an extension to the world’s first Andrew Carnegie library is a great privilege and we hope that our own contribution from the 21st century will, in the fullness of time, take its place in Dunfermline’s continuing and unfolding history alongside our many historic neighbours.”
Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, 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. It will keep history safe while being the cornerstone of the town’s tourism. It will make a great contribution to people’s education and enjoyment and I look forward to seeing it blossom.”
David Walker, Chairman of Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, said: “The Trust is delighted with the outcome of this outstanding project for Dunfermline. Trustees are particularly impressed with the rebirth of this the first Carnegie Library, and the synergy with the new museum facility, a juxtaposition Andrew Carnegie would have whole heartedly approved.
“The Trustees are also enthusiastic at the opportunities ahead for the spectacular Heritage Quarter of Scotland’s ancient capital now that the plans for the re-opening of Abbot House are under way.”