Scottish Borders gears up for new tourist season

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERASome of the Scottish Borders top tourist attractions are back in business from this weekend (March 31).

From Sunday (April 1) Historic Scotland sites opening in the Borders include Dryburgh Abbey and Hermitage Castle.

Visitors looking for inspiration can visit a special web page and insert their postcode to find out about where to visit in their area.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said:  “Spring is a wonderful time to enjoy all that Scotland has to offer, from castles to cathedrals, cairns to standing stones. This is the Year of Creative Scotland 2012 and I am looking forward to many  exciting events to celebrate our amazing history and heritage.”

Museums run by Scottish Borders Council are now opening their doors for the new season.

The include the ever popular Jim Clark Room in Duns and Coldstream Museum will both open for the season on Monday 26 March 2012.

The Jim Clark room gives a comprehensive account of Jim Clark’s career from club competitions to World Championship Formula 1 racing through a fascinating display of trophies, awards, photographs, model cars and other memorabilia.

A photographic display ‘1962 Remembered’ is being held in the Exhibition Room at Duns Library from 14 April – 26 May commemorating the 1962 season when Jim Clark came within one victory of winning his first Formula 1 World Championship, but for an oil leak.

The Old Gala House in Galashiels opens with an exhibition of paintings and drawings  by Lynda Marwood. It opens on March 31 until May 12 in the Pringle Room.

In the Museum Room visitors can take a look back at photographs from the Old Gala Club archives documenting the local working environment over the last century.

And in the Christopher Boyd Gallery there a creepy little exhibition examining the lives of the multitudes of mini beasts that surround us. With live specimens, colourful displays and lots of hands-on activities…love them or loathe them there is a lot to learn in What’s Bugging You? – Mini Beasts.

For more information on Children’s workshops or to request activities for schools phone 01750 20096 for details

In Selkirk the Halliwell’s House Museum in Market Place opens from April 2.

Halliwell’s House Museum is housed in the oldest surviving row of dwellings in Selkirk. The building dates back over 400 years and makes a truly atmospheric museum situated in Halliwell’s Close just off the bustling Market Place.

A short walk away is Sir Walter Scott’s Courtroom which opens with an exhibition (April 2), ‘Breaking with the Past’ – a wistful glimpse into an historic past which has now disappeared. The core of this display is a recently digitised collection of photographic slides documenting some of the demolition work carried out in Selkirk, around the old Fleshmarket area, during the 1960s and 1970s.

At the Tweedale Museum in Peebles there’s a welcome return to the Borders of ‘For Our Freedom and Yours’ – the story of the 1st Polish Armoured Division tracing the story of its formation in Duns in 1942 to their campaigns in Western Europe in 1944 – 1945 under the command of the esteemed General Stanislaw Maczek.

The brain child of Sean Szmalc and Margot Corson ‘For Our Freedom and Yours’ is an exciting, awe inspiring and evocative national touring exhibition which has already been visited in other parts of the country by thousands of people. It features many rare and previously unseen artefacts from soldiers of the 1st Polish armoured division.  These include uniforms, equipment and personal belongings of the soldiers.

The exhibition will incorporate examples of other Polish army units during the second world war including a complete combat uniform depicting a paratrooper from the Polish independent parachute brigade as well as a uniform from the Polish 2nd Corps which famously fought with distinction at Monte Cassino in Italy.

There will also be a selection of wonderful props and costumes from the blockbuster movie ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and the mini-series ‘Band of Brothers.’

Sean Szmalc’s fascination with the Second World War began when he was a young boy due to his grandfather the late Emil Szmalc serving in the Polish army and later the 1st Polish armoured division during the Second World War.

The exhibition runs at Tweeddale Museum from 31 March – 26 May and admission is free.

At Hawick Museum discover history, art, motorcycle racing legends and more in a historic house within a lovely Victorian park.  Also – the Old Schoolroom, nature displays and archaeology.

Open all year. April 1 until September 30, Mon-Fri 10-12am & 1-5pm, Sat, Sun 2-5pm
Admission free. Wheelchair access to the Ground Floor and the Scott Gallery.

From April 1 to May 13 – ‘My Little Lovelies’ – drawings and textiles exploring the little and the large of the Borders landscape by artist Hannah Longmuir, returning to her native region.

From April 7 to May 13 the museum hosts Toy Stories in the Waterfall Gallery. This is a fascinating show of toys and games from the past including Hawick Museum’s antique doll’s house and its fascinating contents on show for the first time.

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