A century of childhood at Dunollie

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Over the years, the Dunollie Archive has revealed so much. With articles dating as far back to the 1400’s, you can easily become captivated by the fascinating history that surrounds the ancient site.

Some of the most heart warming papers held within the archive are the letters written from the MacDougall children to their parents. This correspondence has been the inspiration behind a new exhibition at Dunollie Museum, Castle & Grounds, titled My Dear Papa.

My Dear Papa has been created by a team of four volunteers from Dunollie’s curatorial, archive and textile groups, who have literally put in hundreds of hours of work, meeting every Wednesday since early 2017 to start gathering ideas together.

Jean MacDougall (born in 1912) taken in 1917.
Jean MacDougall (born in 1912) taken in 1917.

Gillian Campbell, Dunollie’s marketing and promotions manager, said: ‘This fantastic team have developed every inch of the new display, from sourcing the letters and planning the room layout to writing the interpretation panels and assembling the display.’

The exhibition follows three generations of MacDougall young during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Toys, books and games from the Dunollie collection can be seen on display, alongside the letters written (and received) by the children. Items of original costume from this time also bring this vibrant display to life.

The first display relates to the family of Vice Admiral Sir John MacDougall, 25th Chief over 1830s-40s, who had six sons and three daughters. The next features the family of Henry MacDougall 28 th Chief, who served as an officer in the Indian Medical Service during 1870’s-80’s.

One of the letters held within the archive.
One of the letters held within the archive.

Finally, there is Alexander MacDougall, the 29th chief, who followed his father into the medical profession and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1896. He had three daughters – Coline, Jean and Hope – who bring the story up to the 20th Century. Jean was the mother of the present chief, Madam Morag MacDougall, for whom Dunollie remains the ancestral home.

My Dear Papa has been created through the Dunollie Links community programme with funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery, to celebrate the Year of Young People 2018.

This new exhibition will be open to visitors from Friday March 30. For opening times and ticket information, visit www.dunollie.org.