EXCITING NEW EXHIBITION WILL SHOWCASE DEAN CASTLE COLLECTION
East Ayrshire Leisure Collection Care staff, a range of volunteers and the Dean Castle Textile Team have been hard at work preparing for an exciting new free exhibition set to open at Kilmarnock’s Dick Institute on Wednesday, June 6.
Items from the collection normally housed at Dean Castle are being brought to the Dick Institute for display and safe-keeping while the Castle is closed to the public for extensive £5.2m restoration and refurbishment work, which is being funded by East Ayrshire Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and East Ayrshire Leisure.
Among the items featured will be some of the castle’s recognised collection of internationally significant early musical instruments, as well as many fine examples of armoury which can be viewed in a specially-created open storage area.
One of the highlights of the exhibition will be the Gothic style suit of armour belonging to the 8th Lord Howard De Walden, which he had made around the turn of the last century and wore on a number occasions.
His original arming doublet, now too fragile to be displayed, has been replicated for the exhibition by Jonathan Allen, a postgraduate Dress and Textile Histories student from the University of Glasgow, who has been working with the Textile Team recently as part of a work placement.
Another major exhibit will be a 500-year-old tapestry featuring the bethrothal scene of King James IV and Margaret Tudor, elder sister of Henry VIII.
And as part of an educational project which will run alongside the new exhibition, the Textile Team – now in its 12th year – has also created replicas of the costumes worn by the two main characters from the tapestry, allowing school children to dress up and re-enact the scene during their visit.
They have also produced another set of the costumes to be used as display pieces, with these taking a year and a half to complete, having been hand stitched as they would have been in the 1500s, including hats and shoes.
Jason Sutcliffe, Team Leader for Collection Care for East Ayrshire Leisure, and who is co-ordinating the castle decant and Dick Institute exhibition, said: “This is a huge and challenging project, but we can see the benefits it will have both on the castle itself and the museum collections.
“Many of the artefacts on display, which will include sections focussing on both the De Walden and Boyd eras, have not been seen by the public for a number of years due to problematic building issues at the Castle.”
A series of events, workshops, recitals and displays are set to take place throughout the duration of the exhibition to allow visitors an in-depth look at the collection, with displays changing and developing over time.
However, there is one exhibit which has never been seen before – a 1:125 scale model of Dean Castle made entirely from LEGO bricks by Bright Bricks as part of the upcoming Bricktropolis show at the Dick Institute, which can be viewed in the museum’s foyer area.
Admission to the Dean Castle collection exhibition is free. For opening times, or for more information on the Dean Castle refurbishment works, visit www.eastayrshireleisure.com