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New Exhibitions at Stranraer Museum

Dumfries and Galloway and neighbouring Ayrshire are rich in natural resources. The region’s mineral wealth includes coal, iron, sandstone, granite, lead, copper and even gold. It was this mineral wealth that fuelled the industrial revolution and provided work for thousands of men and women. Today mining is an almost forgotten industry and all that remains are isolated bings and spoil tips, flooded quarry pits and the old colliery rows.

‘El Dorado’ introduces the history of mining in the south-west. It also looks at life in some of the more isolated mining communities. On display are the tools of the miners and quarrymen, historic photographs and mineral specimens. A special interactive computer programme allows the visitor to discover the sites of some of the region’s lost mines.

The second exhibition is ‘The Legacy’. Documentary photographer Iain Brown was awarded a commission in 2006 to explore the impact of mining in the region. Iain saw this as an opportunity to talk with people in the mining communities and his photographs are inspired by their stories and reminiscences. He also visited and recorded the sites of many of the old mines and quarries. His stark black and white images provide a fascinating and poignant record of this once important industry.

‘The Legacy’ and ‘El Dorado’ are travelling exhibitions produced by Future Museum which is a joint venture between many of the museums in south-west Scotland. Future Museum is funded through the Scottish Executive by the Regional Development Challenge Fund and administered by the Scottish Museums Council. More information on the project can be found at www.futuremuseum.co.uk.

The two exhibitions at Stranraer Museum run until 24 March. Admission is free.