Dallas Mechan steps down as 'Queen of Museums' in Fife after 34 years in heritage sector

OnFife’s head of cultural heritage Dallas Mechan announced that she will be stepping down from the position and bring a 34 year career in the heritage sector to a close.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 4:29 pm
Dallas Mechan has been dubbed Fife's 'Queen of Museums' by colleagues at OnFife after bringing her diverse career of 34 years in cultural heritage to a close this month.
Dallas Mechan has been dubbed Fife's 'Queen of Museums' by colleagues at OnFife after bringing her diverse career of 34 years in cultural heritage to a close this month.

Ms Mechan’s career spanning museums, galleries and archives across the UK has earned her the title of the ‘Queen of Museums’ from colleagues at Fife’s leading arts and culture organisation.

After 34 years in the heritage sector, Ms Mechan retired on Friday, leaving a lasting legacy in the region’s cultural heritage industry behind her.

The Dundee-born heritage leader said her appreciation for Scottish culture and history began at an early age.

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“I’ve always enjoyed visiting museums and castles,” said Ms Mechan.

"My dad loved history and archaeology and I have fond memories of digging in the midden at Red Castle, Lunan Bay, as a little girl with his chums from the Abertay Historical Society.”

Embarking on her career in Fife as an assistant curator at Kirkcaldy Museum & Art Gallery was a “daunting” experience, Ms Mechan added.

“There were only two professional staff after such a huge team of specialists in Edinburgh.

"I was suddenly in a job looking after everything from bronze age axe heads to miners’ lamps, as well as an astonishingly good art collection. But it was hugely exciting and I loved the building and it just felt great to be part of it.”

After studying architecture at university and volunteering at the National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh, Ms Mechan went on to work as a Research Assistant and enrol in a postgraduate Museum Studies course at the University of Leicester.

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Her career in Scotland has since seen her spearhead the launch of Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries, complete two refurbishments of Kirkcaldy Galleries and OnFife’s Mobile Museum, MAC.

Her time at OnFife has also seen her work with teams to improve and increase the accessibility of its extensive collection of cultural treasures when not widely available to view on public display.

Ms Mechan said: “I’ve been fortunate to work with amazing people and wonderful collections.

"The opportunity to discover and share people’s stories through them has been a privilege.”

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