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National Museum of Rural Life

Located at Wester Kittochside, 2½ miles (4 km) northwest of East Kilbride, the National Museum of Rural Life is the result of a partnership between the National Museums of Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland.

Opened in 2001 and costing £9 million, the museum is intended to provide a national educational resource on countryside practices, the environment, traditional farming methods and topical issues. It also focusses on agricultural history and the lives of those who lived and worked in Scotland's countryside. The site includes a Georgian farmhouse, a 24 ha (60 acre) events area and a purpose-built Exhibition Building, designed in the vernacular style by the Glasgow architects Page and Park. Exhibits include agricultural tools and equipment, clothing, toys, musical instruments, household items and displays illustrating living and working conditions. Amongst the preserved machinery is the reaping machine invented by Patrick Bell (1799 - 1869), the earliest surviving example of an iron plough invented by James Small (1730-93) and the best collection of combine harvesters in Europe. Items which have been kept in storage for many years due to the lack of space in previous premises are now on display.

Outside, visitors can see a working farm - complete with dairy cows and sheep - operated as it would have been in the 1950s. There are also regular demonstrations of country skills, workshops and ranger-guided walks.

The National Museum of Rural Life has greatly extended the work of the former Scottish Agricultural Museum, founded in 1949, latterly located within the show-ground of the Royal Highland Agricultural Society for Scotland at Ingliston, west of Edinburgh. The new museum became possible when, in 1992, the National Trust for Scotland was given the 69 ha (170 acre) Wester Kittochside farm, together with its contents, by Mrs Margaret Reid, whose family had farmed this land for at least ten generations over 400 years. This opened as the Museum of Scottish Country Life, becoming the National Museum of Rural Life in 2006.


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