Cumnock exhibition puts industry and science in the spotlight

An exhibition celebrating Scotland’s rich industrial past is currently being held.

The event, marking the history of Cumnock and the Doon Valley, is running at the Baird Institute, Cumnock, until Saturday, December 16.

Industry & Science: A Local Heritage, a collaboration between Kilmarnock Engineering and Science Society and Netherthird Primary School, Cumnock, shines a spotlight on local scientific trailblazers whose contribution to industrial progress is often overlooked.

One of these, William Murdoch of Lugar, was responsible for inventing gas lighting and worked closely on engineering projects with James Watt, the inventor of the steam engine.

Murdoch is now celebrated in an annual festival in Cornwall, where he worked in the tin mining industry. He is less well known in his native Scotland.

The exhibition features artworks produced by the primary school pupils, as well as a range of interactive display pieces devised by local engineer Mark Klimek that explore the fundamental principles of physics through the relationships between electricity, magnetism and light. There will also be a display of images provided by members of Ayrshire Astronomical Society.

The Baird Institute in Cumnock

To accompany the exhibition, there will be a series of free talks by members of Kilmarnock Engineering and Science Society (KESS): Static Electricity and the Van De Graff Generator by Colin Barbour, on Thursday, October 19 from 6.30-7.30pm, and The Amazing World of Electricity and Magnetism by Mark Klimek on Thursday, November 2 from 6.30-7.30pm.
The Baird Institute lies in the centre of Cumnock and was opened in March 1891 to provide leisure facilities for local people and included a museum, billiard room and reading rooms.
Today it holds collections of Mauchline Ware of world importance, complimented by many items of Cumnock Pottery as well as a wide range of resources which relate to the history of Cumnock and the Doon Valley area – museum collections, archives, photographs, audio visual materials, books, maps and newspapers.
One room is also dedicated to James Keir Hardie, founder of the Labour Party, and contains many of his personal belongings.
The Institute also boasts a catalogue of contemporary art exhibitions, with a range of events and workshops taking place throughout the year. It recently underwent a £650,000 refurbishment and was recently awarded four-star visitor attraction status by VisitScotland.
Industry & Science: A Local Heritage is open to the public on Thursdays from 12.30-4.40pm then from 5-8pm, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am-4pm. Admission is free.