Aberdeenshire Farming Museum
**** Please note: The Weel Vroght Grun, Aden Estate Story and Temporary Exhibition space are all closed at the moment due to major refurbishment work. Hareshowe and the Horseman’s House are however still open to the public.****
Long famed for high quality Aberdeen-Angus cattle, the North East contains a quarter of Scotland’s arable land and consequently farming is an essential feature of rural life. The award-winning Aberdeenshire Farming Museum at Aden Country Park brings alive the story of this famous farming past in the unique semi-circular Aden Estate home farm.
New displays installed this year include local foundries and the farm machinery they made, modern farming methods for animal husbandry and traps and vermin control.
The Farming Museum excitingly portrays the story of North East Farming in three related interpretive themes which include the Aden Estate Story, Weel Vrocht Grun, and the Horseman’s House.
Aden Estate Story
The “Aden Estate Story” exhibition tells the fascinating history of the land, people and buildings in which the exhibition stands. The story relays the history of the Aden Estate, its lairds, tenants, gamekeeper, gardener, and horseman, illustrating the relationship between the farm workers and the ‘Big House’. The exhibition provides an intriguing insight into the human story behind both workers and lairds throughout the years, following amongst others, the financial problems which in the end overwhelmed the estate and laird and led to the demise of the Aden estate.
Further information on the Aden Estate Story can be found by following the link.
The Horseman’s House
The Horseman’s House, at the gable end of the semi-circle steading, provides a glimpse into what home and family life was like for Aden Home Farm’s horseman in the 1920s. The accommodation may seem small and sparse by today’s standards, but at the time it was considered a substantial provision and reflected the importance, and the status, of the horseman within the farming community. A museum guide is on hand to introduce visitors to the Horseman’s House and explain the story of what life would have been like for Jimmy Thomson, the horseman of the time, and his family. Visitors are also taken on a nostalgic trip back in time with a demonstration of how oatcakes were once made over an open fire.
Weel Wrocht Grun
“Weel Vrocht Grun”, meaning well worked ground, is the title of the Aberdeenshire Farming Museum’s main exhibition. The exhibition tells the story of how farming in North East Scotland developed over the years from the late 18th century until the middle of the 20th century. The story is a remarkable one, telling of determination and heroic levels of human effort and hard work.
The exhibition is divided into a number of displays, each looking at a different feature of the story of North East farming.
• The changing North East landscape, how the land was worked to change it from moorland to rich farmland
• Ploughing and sowing, showing how cultivation changed and how the tools and skills of the ploughman developed
• Harvesting and haymaking, showing how farming began to be mechanised, with the introduction of reaping and mowing machinery and the first tractors.
• Grain processing, showing the methods which were used to separate the harvested crop into its useful parts, from straw and chaff for human and animal bedding, to the cereal grain itself, which fed both people and animals.
• The cultivation of turnips as part of the prescribed six year crop rotation. Without the development of the plain “neep”, it would not have been possible to feed the beef cattle which became the mainstay of North East farming wealth.
Further information on the Weel Vrocht Grun can be found by following the link.
In the temporary exhibition gallery housed in the main museum building visitors can view changing displays. This year (2012) there is an exhibition telling the hidden story of the important role that our farmers played in protecting the nation in the cold war period. The exhibition tells the story of their role in the Royal Observer Corps and will mark ten years since the ROC was disbanded. The exhibition is complete with uniforms, artefacts and a replica cross section of a nuclear observation bunker.