Three stars for the Maggie Law Museum

20130816- Maggie Law plaque unveiling. 'Nigel Don MSP made a presentation of a Visit Scotland Tourist Attraction plaque to the Maggie Law Maritime Museum in Gourdon. ''Copyright Andy Thompson Photography. 'No use without payment.
20130816- Maggie Law plaque unveiling. 'Nigel Don MSP made a presentation of a Visit Scotland Tourist Attraction plaque to the Maggie Law Maritime Museum in Gourdon. ''Copyright Andy Thompson Photography. 'No use without payment.

MSP Nigel Don has paid a visit to the Maggie Law Maritime Museum in Gourdon to present it with a Visit Scotland Tourist Attraction plaque.

Mr Don performed the pleasant duty last Friday, describing the museum as ‘‘a fantastic example of a community taking the opportunity to come together to preserve and celebrate their history.

He added: ‘‘ This wonderful museum celebrates historic events by harnessing artefacts and modern technology, from Maggie Law herself to the sock knitting machine and the online resources, to preserve the significant contributions that local people made to each other in past generations.

“Through the commitment and enthusiasm of its trustees, local business and the local community this museum will provide future generations with a “gutty” into the past.

“This is a wonderful example of how heritage projects can and should be developed in communities across Scotland.”

The museum has been awarded a three-star plaque by Vist Scotland, and this opens the way with the help of Visit Scotland Marketing, to increase the visitor footfall for next season.

Visitor numbers at the museum have been excellent, and donations have exceeded expectations.

Dave Ramsay, project director, said: “It is a pleasure to have Nigel Don making this presentation, as his vision for tourism in Angus and the Mearns is one we share.

‘‘We appreciate Nigel finding time in his busy schedule, as he has always been a great supporter of past heritage projects in the Mearns, and a guest speaker at our various Heritage events.”

The museum houses the famous Maggie Law inshore surf boat, built by James (Jeems) Mowatt of Gourdon, from a subscription of a penny in the pound from the catches of the local fishermen.

Built in 1890, and in service for 40 years, the boat was rowed by six men, and established a proud record of saving 36 lives in 40 years.

The museum houses a variety of exhibits and archives about the rich maritime heritage of Gourdon and the adjoining fishing communities, and has also been chosen as an outlet for a new book, Fishing Communities of Angus and the Mearns, by David Adams, which is a detailed and fascinating piece of research work about the local fishing communities.

After a period of closure for some years the refurbished museum was reopened in April of this year by Dame Anne Begg MP, honorary president of the Maggie Law committee, who was specialist adviser to the museum project.

In the refurbishment, great care was taken to ensure maximum access and facilities for people with disabilities, and the museum now offers an audio-visual tour of the building.

Anne Sandilands, quality & tourism advisor with Visit Scotland, commented: “We are delighted to have awarded the Maggie Law Maritime Museum three-star Visitor Attraction status. The committee and volunteers are to be congratulated on their hard work and commitment to getting the mueseum open for the public to enjoy.

“Regions such as Aberdeenshire need a mix of attractions to cater for a range of visitors. We welcome specialist attractions to that mix and the Maggie Law Maritime Museum certainly is a great experience for everyone to enjoy.”

The museum is open daily (except Tuesdays) from 1-4.30pm, admission by donation.