A fascinating new exhibition opens at Dumfries Museum on Saturday, June 15.
The Great Moss reveals the story of one of the largest areas of raised bog in Europe – the internationally important Lochar Moss. The exhibition investigates the human and natural history of this area of peatland, focusing on archaeological finds from the area and on its unique ecology, including its carbon storage potential.
Among the exhibits will be an Iron Age torc and bowl, discovered in the Lochar Moss in the 1840s and returning to the area for the first time in 150 years. This is one of just a handful of British Museum loans nationwide made possible by their Spotlight loan programme.
The exhibition will launch with a special preview at 7pm on Friday, June 14, when Peter Norman, biodiversity officer with Dumfries and Galloway Council, whose extensive research culminated in this exhibition, will give a short talk. Archaeologist John Pickin will join Peter to introduce the fascinating finds from the moss. This will also be an informal opportunity to view the exhibition and ask Peter, John and museum staff questions.
To coincide with the exhibition Dumfries Museum is offering lots of events to appeal to young and old alike. Countryside ranger Tom Henry will be running a series of family workshops during the summer school holidays which will give participants the opportunity to make their own bog, and discover the plants and animals that live in this wet wilderness. There will also be drop-in activities on offer, including Iron Age dressing up, animal masks and bog related quizzes, trails and colouring sheets.
At 7pm on Thursday, June 27, visitors can hear Dr Jody Joy, the curator responsible for the European Iron Age collections at the British Museum, give a talk on Celtic art. Jody has a particular interest in Celtic, and particularly La Tène, art as well as research interests in the social significance of metalworking technology; feasting and feasting vessels. This talk will include a discussion of the Lochar Moss Iron Age torc and bowl on loan from the British Museum.
Museum staff have linked up with the Cruck Cottage Heritage Association to offer an open day on July 21 at the Cruck Cottage at Torthorwald. Members of the association will demonstrate traditional crafts and take a guided walk from Mouswald to Ironhirst Moss to see the remains of the peat workings that operated there in the first half of the 20th century. On Sunday, August 4, there is a second guided walk to Longbridgemuir, the most southerly of the Lochar mosses, to look at bog wildlife and restoration.
Contact Dumfries Museum on 01387 253374 if you would like further information or to book a place at any of these events.
The exhibition will run from Saturday, June 15, to Sunday, August 18, and admission is free. Dumfries Museum is open 10am–5pm Monday to Saturday and 2pm–5pm on Sundays.