Skip to main content

Unburied Treasure

Press Release   •   Sep 30, 2014 14:11 BST

A new free exhibition, in honour of one of Fife’s most famous sons, is set to showcase a unique collection of 56 presentation caskets gifted to the Scottish/American Industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

Carnegie Treasures opens at the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum in Dunfermline on 1st October, celebrating the Scots-born philanthropist’s influence across the British Isles.

Born in the Fife town in 1835, Carnegie emigrated to America where he went on to help build the American steel industry. After selling his company in the early 1900s, Carnegie used his wealth to support cultural and educational services in Scotland.

The caskets were a mark of appreciation for Carnegie’s donations of swimming baths, free public libraries, schools, colleges and other institutions for the benefit of the general public.

The gifts were often presented in recognition of making Carnegie a ‘Freeman’ of a particular town, city or corporation. Their presentation became an opportunity for grand spectacle and festivity in Victorian Britain.

The exhibition will be the first time, in over eight decades, that the public can view all 56 caskets and learn about the stories behind them.

Angus Hogg MBE, Convener of the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum, said

“The forthcoming exhibition and book showcase a stunning collection of presentation boxes which are treasure chests of social and art history.  Just as Carnegie referred to them as a reminder of his responsibilities as a philanthropist, today the caskets are symbolic of the remarkable impact that he made across the British Isles and beyond.  These exquisite items reveal a wealth of fascinating stories and visitors to the exhibition may even discover their own connection to the Carnegie legacy.”

Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director, said: “The Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum offers a fascinating look into the life and times of one of most famous figures in Fife’s history. This new exhibition and book will allow visitors to delve deeper into Carnegie’s history and is a great addition to Dunfermline’s tourism offering.”

For more details visit

Caption: This casket was presented to Carnegie by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers in 1903 in recognition of his “great services to the Iron Trade”.

Notes to Editors:

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland. 
  • The organisation has three key roles:
  1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
  2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
  3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to
  • For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to