Kirkcaldy Guardians: my heart and soul are in Kirkcaldy Galleries says venue manager

Kirkcaldy Galleries – The Grand Lady
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I grew up with Kirkcaldy Galleries. As a bairn, I visited with Dad and my wee brother on Saturdays while my Mum worked at the Littlewoods butcher counter.

I recall my palpable excitement when I got to use the ‘big’ adult library at 13 years. As a student, I’ve used the reference room to study and later a table with a view over the memorial gardens. I’ve searched for ancestral soul stories in the family history room.

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As a creative, I’ve haunted exhibitions and the art gallery for inspiration and write in the company of coffee and cake. In short, this historical building which has witnessed my every incantation is home. So, when I came to choosing our next Kirkcaldy Guardian, it was a natural choice.

Helen Stevenson , venue manager at Kirkcaldy Galleries (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)Helen Stevenson , venue manager at Kirkcaldy Galleries (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Helen Stevenson , venue manager at Kirkcaldy Galleries (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

“My heart and soul are here,” says Helen Stevenson, venue manager of Kirkcaldy Galleries.

Raised in Templehall and raised in Cardenden, Helen recalls fondly the changes she has seen in the 25 years she was been with OnFife, starting off as a library assistant, working through the ranks, as a Supervisor in west Fife followed by Manager stints at Lochgelly Centre, Carnegie Hall, Rothes Hall, Adam Smith before “coming home” when she saw the advert for venue manager of the galleries.

From the historic legacy of John Nairn who gifted the library and war memorial to the town in the memory of his son, the building has evolved since its opening in 1925 and the fellow stewardship with Fife Council. “She’s an old lady and well looked after,” says Helen fondly.

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While the museum and art galleries flourished, facilities now include a PC suite, café, gift shop meeting rooms, museum, local family and history rooms and gallery spaces.

During Covid, the galleries offered the online books, home delivery service and click and collect. Now, amidst a cost-of-living crisis affecting many in the town, they offer a Warm Space between 3.30pm and 5pm when open with free coffee, games, and colouring sheets for wee ones.

Helen glows as she speaks of her passion for community and people, “What keeps me here after 25 years is the services we offer to our community. We are here for everyone. We keep people safe and secure, and do our best to serve,” after all “if you can’t get a wee bit of kindness in a building like this, where can you get it?”

This ethos is explored with partnership working with Love Oor Lang Toun, The Hive, Kirkcaldy Civic Society, Visit Scotland, and Royal British Legion and Welcome to Fife for Industry.

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Helen is thankful for the efforts of the Friends of Kirkcaldy Galleries whose fundraising efforts help maintain the building’s conservation, art collection, and the museum.

To those who haven’t stepped over the door yet, Helen offers an invitation; “don't be shy, be curious, you’ll get a wonderful welcome, the team are knowledgeable and approachable, and are keen to support our community and visitors with all the building has to offer, including guidance and signposting,”

I wonder how Helen feels looking out from the galleries to the memorial garden when working, creating, and connecting with others?

She smiles, “I’m proud and humbled and feel blessed to be working here,”. Wandering out of the galleries with a book in my hand and a spring in my step I can only say throughout my life I’ve been supported by this grand lady, and her presence in our town. Long may she reign.

You can find out what’s coming up at Kirkcaldy Galleries at or get in touch by calling 01592 583206, emailing [email protected] or Facebook @kirkcaldygalleries.

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