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Meffan Museum and Art Gallery

Home > Dundee > Art | Family | Free | Galleries | Museums
by Oxford Explorer (subscribe)
I'm a Mum of two boys living in Oxfordshire, enjoying lots of fun activities and writing about them when I get a chance.
Published December 7th 2012
From contemporary art to ancient pictish stones
Meffan Museum, Art, Gallery, Contemporary, Scotland, Forfar
The Meffan Museum & Art Galley

I grew up in Forfar and can't believe I reached my mid thirties before visiting the Meffan Museum and Art Gallery on a recent trip back to visit family.

The Meffan building was gifted by the Provost Meffan's daughter in 1898 and since 1992 houses a lovely art gallery and museum.

Art Gallery
Downstairs the Gallery brings regularly changing art exhibitions from a variety of contemporary Scottish artists for your viewing pleasure. I enjoyed the Winter Exhibition during my visit which runs until 29th December 2012. The paintings and sculptures are varied in style and available to purchase, just pick up a guide at the reception desk when you arrive. Over five hundred pieces were submitted and with limited space only the very best could be selected. The ever changing nature of this Gallery means it's worth a visit on a monthly basis.

Don't forget to check out the Gallery upstairs which exhibits pieces from the Angus Council Reserve Collection. With a minimum of six different exhibitions a year you can also expect to find variety to inspire.

After enjoying modern cultural pieces you can step back in time as you pass through Forfar's surprisingly interesting and informative museum.

skeleton, coffin, museum, meffan, forfar, scotland, bronze age, burial
The Newmonthill Short Cist

First up I was slightly taken aback to come across a stone coffin and curled up skeleton. Known as a short cist, this is an "example of the type of burial used during the late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, some 5,000 to 3,500 years ago". I was expecting a few minor exhibits in a small town museum and this was quite fascinating.

meffan, museum, forfar, angus, pict, pictish, stone, stone carving, dunnichen, symbol stone
The Dunnichen Pictish Symbol Stone

Next up and my highlight were the carved Pictish stones. The Picts were an iron age tribe inhabiting Scotland around the time of the Romans. Carved stones left by the Picts are particularly prevalent around the Angus area. There is an interesting collection of Pictish stones and they're not encased behind glass and set away. Instead you can view from all angles and feel up close and personal but please don't touch. There is even a stone available to carry out rubbings which would be a great way to make learning interactive if you had a child with you and create something lasting that you could bring home.

meffan, museum, forfar, angus, pict, pictish, carved stone, stone rubbing, activity
Make your own Pictish rubbing. 20p per sheet & crayons provided

Immerse yourself in old Forfar by passing through the Vennel (an old cobbled street). Surrounded by busy shops from clockmakers, bakery and Peter Reid's sweet shop, the displays are fascinating to look. Peer through the windows to take in all the details and get the whole experience with audio too.

meffan, museum, forfar, vennel, old street, cobbled, clockmaker, education
Forfar used to have several clockmakers

Finally, it's time to educate yourself in Forfar's darker side. During the late 1500's the Church of Scotland made it illegal to be a witch or consult with one. Following the ruling there were three significant times of witch hunts and trials. The final period lasted three years until 1663 and saw 300 executions, nine of which came from Forfar. This is brought to life but luckily not in gory detail in the final exhibit.

witch, trial, forfar, museum, witch trial
Luckily witch trials are a thing of the past

If you're local or just visiting the area then The Meffan is definitely worth a visit. Admission is free so you'll probably find yourself visiting the art gallery on a regular basis.
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Why? Contemporary Scottish Art of Ancient Pictish Carved Stones
When: Mon to Sat 10am to 5pm
Where: 20 West High Street, Forfar, DD8 1BB
Cost: free
Your Comment
Looks very impressive!
by Jane Street (score: 2|438) 3333 days ago
I love the Dunnichen Stone. I had the opposite problem - I think I was in the Meffan probably every second Saturday poring over old artefacts!
by Lindsay Law (score: 2|392) 3327 days ago
Great that you can get so close to history
by rober (score: 1|24) 3310 days ago
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