The excellent Museum of Abernethy stands in the heart of the historic village of Abernethy, a short distance down a narrow wynd from the village's best known landmark, the Abernethy Round Tower. It opened in 2000 and the following year it became an STB 4 Star Visitor Attraction.
The building occupied by the museum dates back to the 1700s and stands on land that was once owned by Abernethy's ancient Culdee Monastery. Until work began to convert it into a museum at the end of the 1990s, the building housed stables and a byre. The character of the building was carefully respected during the conversion, and today it is possible to see some of the old internal stone walls, and part of the cobbled floor.
The museum mounts a range of exhibitions and since its launch it has continued to collect objects that relate to the history of the parish. It is also seeking to record the living memories of residents of the village and surrounding area, and is building a photographic archive covering the village and the lives and occupations of villagers.
The museum comprises a large ground floor area, divided by remains of old internal walls into two unequal parts, one of which is home to the reception and shop. There is also an upper floor occupying one end of the building. A door in the rear of the museum gives access to a courtyard in which there are artefacts and exhibitions about the area's farming heritage and in particular about Salmon fishing on the River Tay.
Abernethy is rich in history, and the museum reflects many aspects of it. Three historical elements form the permanent core of its displays, with temporary exhibitions covering other aspects of life, changing on an annual basis. These can cover subjects as diverse as the Abernethy Biscuit; churches in and around Abernethy; textiles; the village in world war two; and fruit growing in the area.
The first of the permanent exhibitions relates to the Abernethy Round Tower, one of only two such towers to survive in Scotland (the other is in Brechin). The museum is one of two places in Abernethy where you can borrow a key to view the interior of the tower and enjoy the views from the top. The second core element of the displays relates to Abernethy's role as a capital of Pictish Kings. Moving back in time still further, the third permanent exhibition relates to the Roman presence in the area, and their establishment of a major fort nearby on the banks of the River Tay at Carpow.