Dean Castle Collections

Dean Castle is currently undergoing major repair and refurbishment works. As a result, the Castle’s fabulous and important collections of early musical instruments, arms and armour, tapestries and more have been brought to the Dick Institute for safekeeping and display in the North Museum. 

The musical instrument collection, which will be returned to Dean Castle when it re-opens, is seen as a Recognised Collection of National Significance. 

Scotland’s Recognition Scheme celebrates, promotes and invests in Nationally Significant Collections beyond those held in our national museums and galleries. The Musical Instrument Collection first secured the highly regarded and exclusive Recognition Status in 2014. The collection of historic musical instruments cared for by East Ayrshire Leisure Trust on behalf of East Ayrshire Council features lutes, guitars, harpsichords, recorders, pianos and harps and boasts one of the earliest violins in existence - an English Renaissance violin made by the Bassano family which dates from between 1550 and 1580.

The significance and quality of some of the musical instruments has been compared to those found in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. However, to see the latest Recognised Collection of National Significance you only need to go as far as Kilmarnock!

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