Banchory Library and the adjoining Banchory Museum, on Bridge Street, have been upgraded following a successful grant application to the Scottish Government Town Centre Initiative Fund, and Aberdeenshire Council Developer Obligation funds.
The refurbished library reopened in 2021, and the community will once again be able to explore local artefacts when the museum opens its doors from 11.30 am-2 pm this Saturday, June 24.
The project was led by Live Life Aberdeenshire, whose Cultural Service developed plans to create a more ‘joined up’ approach for users and visitors as part of the refurbishment.
Both floors in the building, accessed via Scott Skinner Square, have been reconfigured and visitors will find it easier to move between the spaces thanks to a new wide internal staircase and a lift.
The museum has been completely redesigned, with a focus on creating an authentic Banchory experience and a sense of place. Exhibits include pieces from the Aberdeenshire Museums Service collection, many of which have been donated by local people.
Traditional music remains a key theme, with new items from a vast collection of wax cylinders, reel-to-reel tapes and cassettes donated by the trustees of the late John Junner’s estate. The collection features musical recordings by local trad musicians spanning the 1940s to the 1980s.
Other new exhibits tell the stories of local people, and archaeological finds including the unique discoveries made by Hilda Paterson, the first person to identify Mesolithic flints in Scotland.
One of the heaviest objects on display is the ‘Banks o’ Dee,’ believed to be Banchory’s first fire appliance which has been lovingly restored and is on loan from Banchory Rotary Club.
There is also a new interactive children’s activity area and a workshop space, with the museum team planning a programme for schools and adult groups alike, to improve learning linked to the objects on display.
Among those looking forward to the museum reopening is Cllr Anne Stirling, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee.
Cllr Stirling said: “The refurbishment of the museum has been an important and extensive project that leads on from the successful development of the library, and I am pleased to see it reopening its doors.
“A huge amount of effort has been put into redesigning the museum’s layout and, most importantly, developing a wide range of exhibits and features that provide a clear, connected story of Banchory’s history. I am sure everybody will enjoy the new space.”
Chair of the council’s Marr Area Committee, Cllr Robbie Withey, added: “Banchory and the wider community have such a rich and varied history and the refurbished museum is the perfect venue to tell its story.
“The John Junner collection is a very welcome addition to the facility’s exhibits, and I hope everybody enjoys finding out more about the area’s history and making use of the museum’s activity area and workshop space.”
The library, meanwhile, features comfortable areas for computer workstations, book browsing and a dedicated children’s area. It also has flexible spaces for events and activities, with various local groups already making use of the building.
The building also hosts Aberdeenshire Council’s registrar for the Banchory area. Access will continue to be on an appointment basis, with entry via the dedicated Bridge Street entrance on the lower floor of the building, and not via the library or museum. Please call 01330 700440 to make an appointment.
The registrars also provide a family history search service. Further information is available via email@example.com or by calling 01467 468468.