History, Culture and Genealogy at Grantown Museum

Located alongside the River Spey on the northern edge of the majestic Cairngorm Mountains, Grantown-on-Spey was established in 1765 to populate this picturesque and fertile region of the Scottish Highlands. As a planned settlement, Grantown was different in a number of ways from the many settlements which sprang up in an informal fashion at that time. One of the differences being that land was allocated, avoiding squabbling over land rights among the citizens of the new town and promoting cooperation. To gain insight into the history and culture of this charming town and its surroundings, visitors should make a point of spending some time at the fascinating Grantown Museum, which is also the traditional home of the Clan Grant and hosts meetings of the Grantown Society.

Owned by a charitable trust with nearly three hundred members, the Grantown Museum is a community project and a source of great pride to the townsfolk. The museum is located in Burnfield House which was purchased in 1995, with its doors opening to the public in April 1999. Visitors are encouraged to take their time when examining the museum’s many exhibits. It also provides genealogy and local history research facilities, with helpful volunteers being on hand to assist with any queries visitors may have.

In addition to the permanent exhibits and archives housed at the museum, theme-based temporary exhibitions are featured on a regular basis and local artists, photographers, sculptors, jewelers and crafters are given the opportunity to display their works. Temporary exhibition themes have included Creative Cairngorms and Figgat Fair.

The permanent exhibitions include a comprehensive photographic record, interactive audio visual displays and extensive records relating to the establishment of the town. A superb example of a Pictish symbol stone, referred to as the Finlarig Stone, which was found at a nearby farm in the 1860s, can be seen at the museum, and visitors can discover interesting facts about Queen Victoria’s visit to the town in the 19th century, as well as how the development of a railway system contributed to Grantown’s status as a leisure destination.

Other places of interest related to the Grantown Museum is the Speyside House town clock which has kept time for residents of the town for 150 years, and the Orphanage which was founded in 1796 to care for children from the cities. The Grantown Museum is open from April through to October, on Mondays to Saturdays from 10 am to 4pm.