From prehistoric times to the present day, artefacts, documents and photographs illustrate the history of Dollar. A brief description of some of what may be seen is given below.
A Neolithic carved stone ball and local finds from Bronze Age burials on loan from the National Museums of Scotland give an insight into early inhabitants of the Hillfoots. Aerial photographs and maps show where the archaeological finds were made.
Later inhabitants of Dollar lived in the shadow of Castle Gloum, renamed Castle Campbell, the lowland dwelling of the Earls of Argyll.
The Castle was burnt in 1654, and the ruin was sold along with the local Campbell lands around 1800. Early travellers and artists have left evidence of how the castle and village looked at this time, and these may be seen in the museum.
The small village with a woollen mill and a bleachfield changed after local boy John McNabb left a fortune which was used to found Dollar Academy in 1818. Dollar grew as the New Town was built to accommodate teachers, boarders and the families who moved to Dollar to take advantage of the low fees paid by residents of the village. Dollar Academy has gone on to become one of the top independent schools in Scotland.
The Old Kirk of 1775 became too small to accommodate the congregation and in 1842 the New Church was built. The Disruption led to the building of the Free Church (the West Church, now private housing) and the 19th century also saw the building of the U.P. Church (now the East Burnside Hall) and the Episcopal Church, St James the Great.
By the end of the 19th century Dollar had its own Town Council, and in 1913 the honour of having the first Lady Provost in Scotland: Lavinia Malcolm. Dollar Town Council disappeared with local government reorganisation in 1976, but a record of all the Provosts, together with photographs and other items are on display in the museum.
The railway came to Dollar in 1869. From the 1950s until closure to passengers in 1964, Peter Wilson attempted to document all aspects of the Devon Valley Railway. He took photographs of the stations from Alloa to Kinross and recorded many bridges, signals, gradient signs, etc. He also collected timetables, tickets and leaflets. We have built on his collection and some interesting donations are on display. With the help of Awards for All, a completely new exhibition was mounted in 2009 and all 750 photographs taken by Peter Wilson can be seen in a slideshow. These are also documented in a searchable database and with funding assistance from the Scottish Community Foundation and EDF Energy Renewables have now all been printed.
With generous donations from Dollar people, we have been able to furnish our Granny's Kitchen with an array of household items from washing dollies and wooden pulleys to butter pats and flat irons. Children will be particularly interested to see how a Dollar kitchen might have looked at the end of the 19th century.
The Dollar Burn starts where the Burn of Sorrow and the Burn of Care unite at the end of the gorge below Castle Campbell. In the mid-19th Century paths and bridges were made through the precipitous glen giving views of the tumbling burn and dramatic waterfalls. Leaving the Glen, the Burn flows through the Mill Green where it powered a Grain Mill and the Woollen Mill which now houses Dollar Museum.
The Burn continues under the bridge carrying the original King's Highway from Stirling to Kinross and then flows through the Burnside, the most picturesque part of the village. In 1877 a sudden flood caused the Burn to overflow its banks and took the front off two houses. The Burn was then canalised to prevent further flooding. The same flood buried the railway bridge a little further south with 470 wagon loads of debris.
Before the road from the village to Rackmill was made the route to the south followed the Dollar Burn down to the Devon, which it crossed by ford.
The exhibition looks in detail at all aspects of the story of Dollar Burn. There are displays on fishing, birds, flowers, the mills and their lades, the flood, the building of the glen paths and much more, all illustrated with many photographs and maps.
An exhibition illustrating Dollar's links with China and Japan.
The Japanese Garden at Cowden, near Dollar, was created by Ella Christie, an intrepid Victorian traveller who was the first European woman to visit Tibet. She employed a Japanese garden designer, Taki Handa, and a gardener, Shinzaburo Matsuo, who lived beside the garden for many years. The garden was described by Professor Suzuki as 'the best in the western world' and had many visitors, including Queen Mary.
James Legge travelled to China as a missionary and translator and later became the first Professor of Chinese at Oxford University. He sent his children to Dollar Academy and while on leave in Dollar in 1867 he invited the scholar Wang T'ao to help him translate the Chinese classics into English. Wang T'ao kept a diary during his two-year trip and wrote lively descriptions of his travels from Hong Kong to Scotland. The exhibition concentrates on his experiences in and around Dollar.Top of page
Page updated 28 March 2013