Tolbooth Museum to reopen for summer season

28 June 2012

A packed programme of talks, reenactments and exhibitions are on offer at Aberdeen's Tolbooth Museum, Castle Street, when it reopens tomorrow [Friday 29 June] until Sunday 9 September 2012, for its summer season.

The museum opens with a fascinating exhibition that examines the relationship between Aberdeen and two important queens of Scotland, Margaret Tudor and her grand daughter Mary, Queen of Scots is on display until Sunday 5 August.

This exhibition features a manuscript copy of the Scottish poet William Dunbar's poem, Gladethe thou Queen of Scots which he wrote about Margaret Tudor in the early 1500s. The poem is on loan from Aberdeen City Archives and is probably the earliest manuscript copy of this poem by one of the most important poets who wrote in Middle Scots.

Chris Croly, historian at Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums said: 'This is a really important year not only marking the jubilee but also the 400th anniversary of the birth of James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose. He is arguably one of the most important figures in Scotland. During the Civil war James Graham twice defeated Aberdeen's forces in battle, the second being the infamous Battle of Justice Mills. It was fought on Friday 13 September 1644; the biggest slaughter in Aberdeen's recorded history. This will be the subject of an exhibition and talk at the museum this season and the letter written by the Marquis of Montrose before the battle of Justice Mills demanding Aberdeen surrender to him will be on display.'

The Tolbooth Museum, one of the oldest buildings in Aberdeen and one of the best preserved 17th century gaols in Scotland. Built between 1616 and 1629 the Wardhouse, now known as the Tolbooth Museum, was a prison for those awaiting punishment or trial in the adjacent court.

The museum offers an array of interesting reconstructions, models, displays and interactive exhibits which present the history and development of crime and punishment, local history and government. Exhibits range from the original 17th century column of Aberdeen's Mercat Cross to medieval instruments of punishment such as the 'maiden' which is an early version of a guillotine.


Forthcoming exhibitions:

Queens and Aberdeen
Friday 29 June - Sunday 5 August
In this Diamond Jubilee year this exhibition is an exploration of different historical queens and their relationships with Aberdeen over the centuries.

Aberdeen and the Marquis of Montrose
Tuesday 7 August - Sunday 9 September
2012 is the 400th anniversary of the birth of James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose. This exhibition explores the turbulent relationship between Montrose and Aberdeen and the infamous Battle of Justice Mills on Friday 13 September 1644.

Forthcoming talks

Queens and Aberdeen
Thursday 12 July, 12.30pm
Talk by Martin Hall, archivist, Aberdeen City Council

Scottish Queens in Scottish Chronicles
Thursday 19 July, 12.30pm
Talk by Amy Hayes, researcher, University of Aberdeen

The history of the Duthie Park
Thursday 26 July, 12.30pm
Talk by Chris Croly, historian with Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Aberdeen swimming baths and sea-side architecture
Thursday 9 August, 12.30pm
Talk by Douglas Campbell, project officer, Aberdeen Heritage Trust

Aberdeen and the Marquis of Montrose
Thursday 16 August, 12.30pm
Talk by Chris Croly, historian, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

The discovery and conservation of Aberdeen's oldest town drum
Thursday 30 August, 12.30pm
Talk by Jenny Brown, curator (Industry), Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

Aberdeen's Mercat Cross - the finest of its kind
Thursday 6 September, 12.30pm
Talk by Charles Burnett, Ross Herald, Court of the Lord Lyon

The talks are free but advance booking is essential so to reserve a place please telephone the Tolbooth Museum on (01224) 621167.


Forthcoming re-enactments:

The Plague
Saturday 7 July
12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm
In this reenactment learn more about the plague that devastated Aberdeen from May to December 1647 and learn how the Burgh Council tried desperately to protect the town and punish those who through their carelessness made the situation worse.

Tartan Day
Saturday 28 July
12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm
The escape of Alexander Keith: one of the most exciting escapes from the Tolbooth took place on 23 July 1638 when Alexander Keith organised his escape in a chest. Learn about this daring escape and meet those involved during this exciting reenactment.

Body snatching in the 19th century
Saturday 8 September
12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm
Re-enactment organised as part of Doors Open Day
In December 1831 a dog dug up fragments of human bone in the grounds of the Anatomical Theatre on St Andrews Street. This led to a riot with the crowd breaking into and setting fire to the Anatomical Theatre. In this reenactment join the magistrates as they try to get to the bottom of what was going on.