St Andrews museums plan festival weekend

Fisher folk in St Andrews.
Fisher folk in St Andrews.

From finding out about the fisher folk of St Andrews to experiencing a Victorian science fair, the town’s museums are going all out this weekend.

The St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum, MUSA and the St Andrews Museum are all taking part in the national Festival of Museum initiative.

Created and co-ordinated by Museums Galleries Scotland, the festival encourages Scotland’s museums to provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy exciting, entertaining and surprising day or night events over one weekend.

Joanne Orr, chief executive of Museums Galleries Scotland, said: “Festival of Museums is about igniting imaginations while celebrating Scotland’s wealth of culture.

“The packed programme features extraordinary, surprising and exciting events over three fun-filled days in museums across Scotland.”

The Preservation Trust decided to build on the surprise visitors show when they discover that the museum building in North Street was, back in the 19th century, in the heart of the town’s fishing quarter and home to several families of fisher folk.

“People often ask who lived here and are always amazed when we tell them about the fisher families,” said Samantha Bannerman, curator.

“The Ladyhead, taking in North Street and Castle Street, was the traditional fishing quarter of St Andrews and really was its own community.”

On Saturday, the museum will be highlighting the fisher way of life through storytelling, songs, photographs and crafts in the museum and across the road at All Saints’ Church.

It has also created a self-guided tour of the Ladyhead that takes visitors around the immediate area, showing where the families lived, worked and socialised.

The activities take place between 11am and 4pm.

St Andrews Museum is posing the question “Who in the world am I?” and venturing into the world of CSI for its festival weekend.

It is inviting people to join experts from the Dundee Science Centre to carry out their own DNA experiments and explore the world of crystals, molecules and helices in an interactive, science-based workshop on Saturday.

“Using your very own DNA, you’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime experience to create a truly unique and personal necklace to take home with you,” explained Janice Crane, exhibitions and outreach curator

The ‘I am unique!’ workshops are on throughout the day but booking a space is required.

It will also be the last chance to see ‘Nobel Structures: Celebrating Crystallography’, an exhibition showcasing the rich but rarely displayed scientific collections of the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee and giving an insight into Scotland’s role in groundbreaking crystallographic research.

Meanwhile, MUSA is offering something for all tastes as its contribution to the festival - relaxing spring music this evening (Friday) and exploring the town or travelling back in time with a Victorian scientific extravaganza on Saturday.

A round-town treasure trail with a twist is on offer to discover the highs and lows of student life, ending with a chance to don a gown and graduate.

The science fair will let visitors try their hand at using some scientific machinery from the great age of scientific discovery.

All the events at the museums are free - visit for details.