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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 www.carnegiebirthplace.com

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”.

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