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About Museum of Lead Mining

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Our Mission

Wanlockhead Museum Trust will strive to:

• Care for, protect and share the artefacts and stories related to the industrial and social history of this rural community who were influenced by hard work, harsh conditions, education, and innovation.

• Enable access to any member of the public by continually reducing barriers to learning for all ages and abilities.

Wanlockhead Museum Trust is committed to advancing the Scottish Government’s ‘Fair Work First’ policy, including paying the Real Living Wage and ensuring staff have an effective voice.

Brief history of Wanlockhead Museum Trust

Wanlockhead Museum Trust was formed in 1974 by Geoff Downs-Rose with Bill Harvey who shared a vision of bringing the culture and history of the mining community back to life. They were supported by the Village Council who had been caring for the Miners’ Library since its closure as a subscription library in 1946.

Temporary summer exhibitions were held in the library during the 1970s by students from Glasgow University who shared in the experience of searching for artefacts. Residents of the village volunteered and were caught up in the project of reopening the library to share their history with the world.

Initially the museum was housed in Goldscaur Cottage.  The contribution of artefacts from the local community soon led to the need for bigger premises. The current Visitor Centre was built in 1992 and incorporates the Old Smithy.

In 2007 the collection of artefacts held at the museum was recognised by Museum Galleries Scotland to be of national importance. The museum is also accredited by the Arts Council of England (RD 1020). 

The independent museum is run by the volunteer trustees of the charitable trust (SCIO), Wanlockhead Museum Trust. It is funded entirely by admission fees and donations. Like many museums the financial pathway is at times difficult.

The Corona virus pandemic led to the museum remaining closed through the summer season of 2020 and until mid-June of 2021. During this time the museum remained viable with generous grant support from D&G Council, the Scottish Government, Historic Environment Scotland, and Museums Galleries Scotland. Museums Galleries Scotland were particularly supportive with recovery and resilience funding. Behind the closed doors many volunteer hours were committed to refurbishing the displays.

The historic cottages The Miners’ Library, Straitsteps Cottages and Goldscaur Cottage are being renovated with grant funding gratefully received from Museums Galleries Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, The Pilgrim Trust, The Garfield Weston Foundation and the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

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