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Scottish Museum of Agriculture and Country Life

This museum or attraction, as it is more accurately called, opened early July 2001 in the town of East Kilbride near Glasgow. This new building replaces the former museum of Scottish country life, which was housed at Ingliston near Edinburgh. It would be fair to say that both sites were easy to get to being near a main arterial motorway and well serviced by public transport, so no real change in that respect.

What has changed though is that it is now bigger, brighter and has new owners, namely the joint guardianship of the National Museums of Scotland and the National Trust. This of course means that I was unable, yet again, to take any photographs as the National Trust do not allow this within their attractions, which is a great pity.

Although the attraction is officially a museum, don't let that put you off as it certainly isn't the stuffy (and stuffed) exhibit type of museum. The building has a modern feel to it and upon entering the staff are very welcoming and efficient.

The main exhibition is the first building you enter and contains three permanent exhibition galleries namely Land, People and Tools. Each of these areas contains a variety of exhibits ranging from the actual tools, clothes etc. with story boards explaining their use or the latest in high tech gadgetry demonstrating it.

In addition to the main exhibition area you are also encouraged to visit the farmhouse which dates from 1783 and the surrounding farm buildings. The farm steadings have been set up to recreate life as it was like in the 1950's and as such you can see how hard life was for the farmer and farm workers at that time. Throughout most of Scotland, this was the time of transition from horse to mechanised farming such as combine harvester and tractor and choosing this time period allows the museum to show both kinds of operation.

The museum is, in the writer's opinion, worth a visit even if farming doesn't hold an initial appeal. A cautionary tale for families though is that it is perhaps not suitable for young children, as not only is it a museum but a working farm. On a good day you can also make use of the gardens, fields and parkland and combine it with a visit to nearby Chatelherault or New Lanark.

Museum of Scottish Country Life
Wester Kittochside
Philipshill Road
East Kilbride
G76 9HR
Opening Hours (2001) Daily 10AM till 5PM
Telephone: 01355 224181