Scotland Adventures :: Dundee

After a week on the go we decided to take it easy and explore Dundee, the town where our friends live and where we are straying.

We started the day with lunch in city center at the old bank pub. We then headed over to the McManus Galleries, which is housed in an old gothic style building. The gallery provides a glimpse of Dundee’s history. On the first floor, you can learn about Dundee’s industrial history and the 3 J’s: jam, jute, and journalism. Reading about Dundee’s history was quite interesting. In some ways in reminded me of Detroit with their industrial boom, being a center in the 1800’s for ship building, and jute factories. Jute is a rough fibre made from the stems of a tropical Old World plant, used for making twine and rope or woven into sacking or matting (thank you Wikipedia).

Dundee also has a jute museum open to the public called Verdant Works, an old jute factory that takes you through the history of jute making and the role it played in Dundee. I was amazed to read about the many inventions and firsts that came out of Dundee. Dundee for the longest time (even today) was one of the leading game design areas (such as DMA Design Inc. who created the game Lemmings in 1991). I also learned that Dundee was the first town in Scotland to instate mandatory education for women. The 2 universities in town are also leaders in the field of biomedicine.

On the second floor of the gallery was a great exhibit of artifacts from around the world from Dundonians who travels near and far. Within the exhibit was a great story of two ladies who travelled the world (both journalist from the local newspaper) to write about women in other countries. In 1894, Marie Imandt and Bessie Maxwell, set off on their excursion. I was amazed to learn that in the late 1800s people were able of of plan for trips around the world in just a mere 212 days. The audio stories they shared of the ladies was quite interesting, especially knowing that it was more dangerous for women to travel abroad alone in those days.

The top floor of the gallery included an extensive photography exhibit where we learned about a local photographer in Dundee who pushed for photography to be considered an art form in the 1980s.

Unfortunately, for us, by the time we were finished with the gallery we were too late to enjoy the Verdant Works Museum, because as we learned last year shops and businesses close for the day promptly at 5:00 PM. Instead, we made a quick pit stop from a loaf of bread, wine and chocolate truffles to bring home for dinner. The next days excursions would take us to Stirling.

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