The Museum of Ayrshire Country Life and Costume is a treasure trove, created in a group of outstanding historical industrial buildings in a beautiful rural location in Ayrshire, South-west Scotland.
Beautifully restored buildings offer the visitor a chance to step into the past.
Experience the sight and sound of the water wheel and the machinery of a Victorian Grain Mill.
The granaries on three floors have exhibitions which tell the story of the rural community over the last century, their work, pastimes, dress and life.
Spend some time with us, enjoy the tranquility of the riverside walk, have a coffee and home baking or a light lunch, and then visit our antique shop in the restored byre.
We offer a gentle relaxed day out for the whole family.
Rising through four floors and powered by a six metre water wheel, this is one of the oldest and tallest grain mills surviving in Scotland. The machinery rescued from a mill in the Scottish Borders, shows the skills of the Victorian engineers or mill-wrights who designed such mills. The wheel turns daily when water supplies and personnel are available. The wheel is undershot and turns anti-clockwise, but we have no explanation for the video above which seems to show the inner and outer parts turning in different directions. Why not come and see for yourselves.
The granaries on three floors which once held thousands of tonnes of grain, make excellent exhibitions spaces to tell the story of the Ayrshire rural economy of the last century. Their agricultural machinery, hand tools, photographs and documents, let the visitor step back in time. The unique collection of their clothes, both for working in and for best, are distributed throughout the galleries and room settings. The philosophy of Godliness, honest poverty, and hard work, which made them what they were, are comprehensively displayed.
The Costume Collection of over two thousand pieces may be most accurately described as Dress and Textiles. As well as womenís, menís and childrenís clothing, we have quilts, tablecloths, bedcovers, Ayrshire blankets, machine made lace from Darvel, and of course Ayrshire embroidery or "floorin" as it was known. Unlike many collections we have tried to collect working clothes where they still exist and many we have are unique, such as the Garibaldi shirt in turkey red cotton. Each summer season we mount a large themed exhibition drawn from a period within the two centuries the collection covers. In the Winter months specialist exhibitions are often held.
Most mills sit in a rural riverside location, and Dalgarven is no exception. Visitors may walk by the river or trace the mill lade and sluices or alternatively leave their car here and walk up into the surrounding countryside. Many people choose to stay near the buildings and enjoy the sight and sound of the water wheel. Many choose to do the latter while enjoying some excellent food on our terrace.
In spring and summer the riverside abounds with wild flowers which are a temptation for many species of birds and insects.
Our unique sandbed or river beach provides a sheltered environment where parents and younger children can enjoy the river.
"The Miller's Kitchen", Coffee Room is situated on the ground floor of the main mill building. They serve delicious soups, sandwiches and home baked scones and cakes. Your tickets, to the museum and special exhibitions, are purchased here. The Coffee Room is a member of the Ayrshire Food Network and where possible serves only fresh locally sourced produce.