COVID UPDATE: We await further information for the period after 26th April 2021. In normal circumstances we are open every weekend from Easter to Christmas.
From prehistoric times to the present day, artefacts, documents and photographs illustrate the history of Dollar. A brief description of some of what may be seen is given below.
We regret that due to the current Coronavirus situation Dollar Museum has not been able to open its doors this year for our 2020 Exhibition. The exhibition will open at some future date when it is considered safe to do so.
The 2021 Exhibition
We are currently planning to re-open Easter 2021 with an exciting new exhibition. The new exhibition will follow a ‘time-line’ of Dollar history from ancient times, with significant events including the Dollar Flood, Fair and Witchcraft. There will also be a number of new displays.
Watch this space for more details as they emerge.
A Century of Housing Development in Dollar, 1918-2018
Last year’s exhibition (2019) in Dollar Museum mapped the growth of housing developments in Dollar. Our main exhibit was a 1.5m2 street map showing the 33 major housing developments built in Dollar from 1918 to 2018. There were individual call outs for each development showing an enlarged street plan, relevant pictures, build dates, builders and cost.
Extra pictures and documents for each of the developments were also available in folders. The museum was happy to receive more contributions to this archive during the course of the exhibition year. As well as any pictures available of the actual build in progress, we tried to also collect pictures of the residents in these streets in the early years of occupancy.
There were 3 smaller displays looking at the history of the local authority developments since WWI, the objections to planning raised over the years and the story of the Museums involvement in the field research for the Gowan Lea build.
Our main display cabinet had the theme “Moving House” where we gathered household items from the 1920s to date and displayed the history of shops and services available in the town. We ran a great children’s competition where we asked our digital generation to identify these items used by previous generations! The competition was played during opening hours and we awarded a specially designed badge for successful completion.
Documentation from the exhibition will be archived for future access. If you think you have anything suitable relating to any of these housing developments which can be included in our development archive please contact the Dollar Museum at Castle Campbell Hall, 1, High Street, Dollar FK14 7AY, or Dollar Museum on Facebook or via email email@example.com
Local finds from Bronze Age burials on loan from the National Museums of Scotland give an insight into early inhabitants of the Hillfoots. Aerial photographs and maps show where the archaeological finds were made.
The Devon Valley Railway
The railway came to Dollar in 1869. From the 1950s until closure to passengers in 1964, Peter Wilson attempted to document all aspects of the Devon Valley Railway. He took photographs of the stations from Alloa to Kinross and recorded many bridges, signals, gradient signs, etc. He also collected timetables, tickets and leaflets. We have built on his collection and some interesting donations are on display. With the help of Awards for All, a completely new exhibition was mounted in 2009 and all 750 photographs taken by Peter Wilson can be seen in a slideshow. These are also documented in a searchable database and with funding assistance from the Scottish Community Foundation and EDF Energy Renewables have now all been printed.
Later inhabitants of Dollar lived in the shadow of Castle Gloum, renamed Castle Campbell, the lowland dwelling of the Earls of Argyll.
The Castle was burnt in 1654, and the ruin was sold along with the local Campbell lands around 1800. Early travellers and artists have left evidence of how the castle and village looked at this time, and these may be seen in the museum.
The small village with a woollen mill and a bleachfield changed after local boy John McNabb left a fortune which was used to found Dollar Academy in 1818. Dollar grew as the New Town was built to accommodate teachers, boarders and the families who moved to Dollar to take advantage of the low fees paid by residents of the village. Dollar Academy has gone on to become one of the top independent schools in Scotland.
The Bicentenary of Dollar Academy
This display celebrates the 200th anniversary of the founding of Dollar Academy in 1818. It tells the story of the early years, starting with the part played by local boy, John McNabb, who made a fortune at sea and left half to Dollar Kirk Session for “a charity or school for the poor of the parish”.
Others who played important roles were:
- Rev. Andrew Mylne, the first Rector
- Craufurd Tait of Harviestoun
- William Playfair, architect
The result was a magnificent building containing a unique, co-educational, day and boarding school, which provided free or very cheap education for all local children, long before school attendance was universal.
Dollar and the Orient
An exhibition illustrating Dollar’s links with China and Japan.
The Japanese Garden at Cowden, near Dollar, was created by Ella Christie, an intrepid Victorian traveller who was the first European woman to visit Tibet. She employed a Japanese garden designer, Taki Handa, and a gardener, Shinzaburo Matsuo, who lived beside the garden for many years. The garden was described by Professor Suzuki as ‘the best in the western world’ and had many visitors, including Queen Mary.
James Legge travelled to China as a missionary and translator and later became the first Professor of Chinese at Oxford University. He sent his children to Dollar Academy and while on leave in Dollar in 1867 he invited the scholar Wang T’ao to help him translate the Chinese classics into English. Wang T’ao kept a diary during his two-year trip and wrote lively descriptions of his travels from Hong Kong to Scotland. The exhibition concentrates on his experiences in and around Dollar.
The Old Kirk of 1775 became too small to accommodate the congregation and in 1842 the New Church was built. The Disruption led to the building of the Free Church (the West Church, now private housing) and the 19th century also saw the building of the U.P. Church (now the East Burnside Hall) and the Episcopal Church, St James the Great.
By the end of the 19th century Dollar had its own Town Council, and in 1913 the honour of having the first Lady Provost in Scotland: Lavinia Malcolm. Dollar Town Council disappeared with local government reorganisation in 1976, but a record of all the Provosts, together with photographs and other items are on display in the museum.
With generous donations from Dollar people, we have been able to furnish our Granny’s Kitchen with an array of household items from washing dollies and wooden pulleys to butter pats and flat irons. Children will be particularly interested to see how a Dollar kitchen might have looked at the end of the 19th century.
How to find us
We are located in the village of Dollar, in Clackmannanshire, Scotland. Situated approximately 1 hour drive from Edinburgh and 45 mins from Glasgow.
Castle Campbell Hall, 1 High Street
Donations are welcome