In 1988, a group of dedicated people opened the West Kilbride Museum, giving the town an ongoing attraction that would benefit future generations.
The aim was to depict life in the Parish over the past 400 years, portraying the history, development and traditions of West Kilbride. The public
response to the idea was wonderful and donations of varying artefacts were received with enthusiasm, resulting in the Museum
being officially opened by Mrs Edith Clarkston, on the 23rd May 1988, in the top rooms of the Village Hall in Arthur Street. Over the intervening years, the public has continued its support and today the
West Kilbride Museum has an enviable
collection of relics from all sections of the town and surrounding area. Most have been gifted, some are on loan, enabling
the displays to be continually changed. Those relating to farming, fishing and weaving
are on permanent display as is a selection of old toys and dolls. Examples of beautiful embroidery, for which Ayrshire was
justly famous, are also often on display. The Museum has always been grateful to Hunterston
Estates Ltd., for the opportunity to use their charming period costumes, allowing a glimpse of a previous life in the area.
The toy comer is always popular with children and the pupils of the local school often
enjoy comparing the selection of well-preserved old toys with their own sophisticated versions. Talks and debates are regularly held in the winter evenings and interesting slide shows illustrate invited speakers.
Everyone is welcome to any of these events. The Museum also hosts a popular annual exhibition
of paintings by local amateur artists and is the venue for the acclaimed winter show of photographs by the local Camera Club.
So the work of the West Kilbride Museum does not stop at collecting items but encompasses
education, organising exhibitions, as well as collating and arranging the ever- changing displays. There are a host of jobs
to be done. Entrance to the museum is free but being of independent means no help is
available with running costs. Income is by way of donations received from visitors and by running fund-raising events. Could
you help here? New exhibits are always being sought. Perhaps you may have some item tucked
away which could portray past life in West Kilbride.
If so, why not loan it to the Museum or better still, donate it for all to see and preserve it for the future? Whilst the contents of the Museum have increased in quality and quantity, the same cannot be said
for the small group of volunteers who maintain it. The quality remains but the quantity does not. We need help in so many
ways. Members are needed to share the work of the day-to-day running. This help does
not need to be on a regular basis as even the odd few hours here and there would be gratefully accepted. If you are interested in days gone by and feel you may be able to assist in some way please contact the Museum. You
will find a warm welcome here. Please help to keep YOUR Museum running and maintain a
unique asset in the town.
West Kilbride Museum is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from lO.30am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 4.00pm. Admission is free but donations are gratefully received.
Please note that the Museum is upstairs (22 steps) above the Village Hall. The building is
over 100 years old and there is no lift access !