Fascinating Fife Folk Museum
The Fife Folk Museum was established in 1968, and is housed in a tollbooth that was constructed in 1673 and consists of weigh house and a dungeon. Originally built by the barons of Ceres, the buildings were in a terrible state of disrepair by the 1960’s. In 1964, the tollhouse was donated to the Central and North Fife Preservation Society. The society acquired the buildings next to the tollhouse and set about restoring the buildings, in the aim of establishing a museum. Architect, Murray Jack, was recruited for the restoration work and later, terraced gardens were purchased and added to the museum grounds. The Fife Folk Museum has become a very popular attraction in Scotland, as it focuses on the daily lives of earlier inhabitants of Fife and the surrounding areas. It allows visitors a historical glimpse into the history of Fife.
The exhibits that are spread out across the buildings, can be divided into ten basic categories, namely Transport, Trades and Craft, Weights and Measures, Sports and Pastimes, Agricultural, Costumes and Accessories, Toys, Gardening, Linen, Lace and Embroidery and Domestic. Generous donations from local citizens in regard to funds and items have supported the renovations and the exhibits of the museum. It is through the dedication of the community and the various societies that the Fife Museum has grown to receive awards such as the Tennant Caledonian Community Award, the Europa Nostra Award and many others that include the National Heritage Museum of the Year Award.
In the Trades and Craft division, visitors will be able to view the tools of the trade that were used by farmers, bakers, blacksmiths and weavers, together with a tradesman’s cottage. Gadgets of the past are also on display, such as the first invention of an iron pressure cooker and vacuum cleaner. The Costumes and Accessories exhibit has a beautiful collection of evening gowns, daily clothing and maternity wear that was worn by the woman of Fife in the earlier years. There is also various toys such as dolls with handmade clothing and children’s books that tell the tales that many of the Fife community had grown up on, including bicycles, doll prams and various other items such as soap and even a steam engine. The Weight and Measures division still resides in the Weigh House where many different weights and measures can be seen, used to measure the worth of a specific item that is being traded. The prison, which is located in the dungeon, only has one inmate that patiently waits for visitors.
Over the past years, since its establishment, the Fife Folk Museum has drawn many visitors not only for their displays on the early rural life of the Fife communities, but also for the beautifully restored buildings. Together, this attraction in Scotland, brings the past back to life and reminds us of everything we have to be thankful for.