Exhibition in Dumfries Museum
Open from March 2023 to January 2024
This exhibition explores the lives of women in Dumfries from c.1850-1950. This was the period when more women entered the public sphere and became engaged with key issues such as the campaign for women to vote (suffrage) and the Temperance Movement to limit or stop alcohol consumption.
We explore this time period through objects and lives. We do not seek to tell the whole story but focus on the specifics of women in our region as represented in objects in our collection. Some of the women conformed to expectations of their time (while still achieving remarkable things). Other women were wholly unconventional such as Dr Flora Murray (pictured), an LGBT icon.
This theme is explored through the works of Chris and Nan Fergusson. Both mother and daughter were talented artists. Works on display include pictures drawn by Nan as a young woman attending the Maxwelltown Convent School, objects made by Chris when she studied at Glasgow School of Art and paintings from her later career.
Find out about Susan Taylour from Stranraer, who delivered a talk in Thornhill in 1874 on the theme of Women’s Suffrage and Dora Marsden, a member of the Women’s Suffrage and Political Union (WSPU also known as the Suffragettes) who spent the last twenty five years of her life in The Crichton after suffering a breakdown.
See a British Women’s Temperance Association banner and tea service used in Dumfries in the 1890s, find out about ‘the women’s crusade’ and the heretofore unknown life of Margaret McKinnon, Temperance campaigner from Dumfries.
World War One and Two changed life for women in so many ways – there were new opportunities but also terrible tragedies. Highlights of our displays are the recently conserved Volunteer Aid Detachment (VAD) uniform from WWI, a Croix de Guerre medal awarded to Elizabeth Murray for her work as an ambulance driver on the Western Front and the painting of Dr Flora Murray by Francis Dodd (this painting was used as the basis for the £100 Bank of Scotland note where Dr Murray now appears).