Inspired by the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow the 2014 foyer exhibition features three items that have a local symbolic importance, one made from gold, one with silver and one made from bronze. All three objects illustrate the governance of Dumfriesshire and have intriguing stories. They represent the punishment for crimes, the rulings which enhance trade, and the centre from which local authority is observed.
Gold snuff box, George III
The citizens of Dumfries presented this delicate box to John Maitland of Eccles in 1811. The year before he had successfully represented the town's interests in parliament during the passage of the Police bill and the Nith Navigation bill.
Purchased for the museum collection with the assistance of the National Fund for Acquisitions.
Silver and ebony gavel, 1914
Hugh Gladstone, the councillor for Penpont parish, presented this to the County Council when their new headquarters in English Street, Dumfries, were opened. A gavel is a symbol of authority, used by a chairperson to bring a meeting to order. Judging by the scuff marks on this one, it has been well used!
Bronze "hangman's ladle", 1700s
For centuries farmers brought their produce of beans, potatoes and grain to the Wednesday market in Dumfries. In addition to receiving a salary and free rent, the town's executioner was allowed to use this ladle to help himself from each open sack of produce.
The ladle is on loan courtesy of the Trustees of the National Museums Scotland.