Cultural tourism brings huge economic benefits to an area. We already play a leading role in bringing cultural tourism to Fife and we want to increase our contribution in years to come. Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries welcomed nearly 170,000 visitors by the end of March 2018. The venue’s national profile achieved in the media is helping to establish Dunfermline as a visitor destination. During 2017/18 we started early work on the rigorous application process to become one of Visit Scotland’s much coveted 5 star attractions.
Both Kirkcaldy Galleries and Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries provide a visitor information service for tourists as part of their designated VIP status. St Andrews Museum also plays its part in the town’s booming tourist offer. We are members of, and contributors to, the Local Tourist Associations, as well as working closely with Welcome to Fife.
During 2017/18 we worked with all the agencies in the tourist sector to help develop the tourism product for Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and mid-Fife after successful fundraising with Scottish Enterprise (SE). As a key member of the Dunfermline Heritage Partnership, we helped secure nearly £1 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Fife Council, the Scottish Government as well as SE.
On 18 May 2017, the stunning and multi-award winning Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries (DCL&G) opened to the public following more than ten years of development. This major cultural hub offers interactive museum and gallery spaces and is fully integrated with the world’s first Carnegie Library. An official opening by the Provost of Fife Jim Leishman MBE followed on 6 September 2017 and we were delighted to welcome back a number of our ‘Wall of Fame’ celebrities from legendary rock band Nazareth to Barbara Dickson. There was superb media coverage including BBC TV, STV, The Times, The Scotsman and local press. By the end of March 2018 we had welcomed almost 170,000 visitors.
2017/18 saw a strong exhibitions programme which featured inspiring partnerships with local communities, arts bodies and educational organisations. Particular highlights include the opening exhibition at Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries which was aptly named “We Made It!” The display presented the many projects – from archaeology to capturing stories for our oral history archive – that went in to the making of the new Dunfermline Museum. It also celebrated the huge contribution made by the 400+ volunteers who helped us realise the DCL&G dream.
After winning numerous accolades, including Edinburgh Architectural Association’s Building of the Year and Large Project of the Year awards in April 2017, then scooping the prestigious RIAS Andrew Doolan Award for Building of the Year, DCL&G is now established as a high profile gateway tourist attraction in the heart of Dunfermline’s Heritage Quarter. As a key partner in the Dunfermline Heritage Tourism Partnership, and through the catalyst of DCL&G, the Trust has played a significant role in securing external funding for developing the town and area’s tourism further over the next three years. We are at the forefront of expanding volunteering in the quarter, supporting our tourism partners through our Volunteering Development Officer.
St Andrews Museum hosts a range of exhibitions to help broaden the town’s offer for tourists. Last year the Scottish Colourists exhibition attracted record numbers. In 2017/18, some of our world collections from Japan and Africa were brought out into the light for the fascinating Ethics and Aesthetics exhibition. This was curated by the Museum Studies students from the University of St Andrews who delivered our 21st partnership exhibition at St Andrews Museum. For the first time, we toured the student exhibition to a second venue, showing at Kirkcaldy Galleries in late summer.
Kirkcaldy Galleries is one of the main attractions for people visiting Kirkcaldy. During 2017/18 one of our temporary exhibitions, The Glasgow Boys – A Spirit of Rebellion offered visitors a rare opportunity to see 30 paintings by 17 artists who shared a desire to rebel against the existing art establishment in late 19th century Scotland.