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Curator's Choice

Megan Stamper - Museum Intern, East Ayrshire Leisure

Megan Stamper - Museum Intern, East Ayrshire Leisure

The diversity of the collections across the south west of Scotland has made my selection of "Curator's Choice" a challenging task. My heritage career began in Dumfries Museum, the largest in the region and proud host to the world's oldest working Camera Obscura, housed in an eighteenth-century stone windmill; historic in itself. My mornings always started with a walk through the charming scenery that surrounded the museum; and the pen and ink drawing below by Charles W. Stewart always brings me back to the River Nith; up the steep hill at Suspension Brae and Rotchell Road towards Dumfries Museum.

While in Dumfries and Galloway, I had such a fantastic opportunity to work with collections gathered via the Treasure Trove Unit. The role of the Treasure Trove is incredibly interesting, supported by enthusiasts from throughout the region, and beyond; and I really valued the experience gained from helping at their drop-in days in Dumfries. From this trove - the delicate engraved gold casket ring highlights the significance of these incredible finds, and the valuable work that local people have in tracing the cultural and social impact of historic objects, providing us links via items lost in time.

Now based in East Ayrshire as a Museum Intern I work mainly with collections linked to the Dean Castle Restoration Project, and in particular the Arms and Armour collections. The detail, and workmanship that went into designing and manufacturing these items is awe inspiring, and so I  have chosen the brass Ottoman Empire Helmet as an elaborate piece of sixteenth-century armour. This piece has allowed me a fantastic opportunity to research the dynasties arsenal tamga marks; something that you may not necessarily think would be a common work to be displayed on the west coast of Scotland.

I've also allowed myself an example not directly linked to my work or experience to date; but one which just makes me smile-from the colours, the scene, and depiction of a romantic love; the gothic period Betrothal Scene tapestry, collected by the late 8th Howard de Walden depicts a romantic wedding ceremony with a young couple holding hands in the centre of the piece. Warm shades of red and blue woven in wools and silks create a regal feel to the piece; and one which sticks with you as you wonder more about the characters it depicts.