The National Trust for Scotland is to invest more than £700,000 to repurpose a historic house in Angus.
House of Dun, near Montrose, is an A-listed Georgian mansion designed by William Adam and completed in 1743 for the Erskine family. It has been open to the public since 1989.
The stables and courtyard area will feature multi-sensory interpretation and costumed story-telling, with the house providing a permanent home for the Angus Folk Museum collection assembled by Lady Maitland of Burnside.
It will also feature a special installation explaining the region’s part in the “birth” of Scotland through the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.
Iain Hawkins, NTS north east general manager, said: “This will be an immersive experience showing how ‘our ain folk’ lived and contributed to Scotland’s rich tapestry.
“I know that there has been recent concern expressed about the lack of celebration of the upcoming 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath – in a sense, this was a gift from Angus to secure the future of a nation that was still facing an existential threat.
“We will be including a special, permanent display to mark the importance of this document in Scotland’s story.
“It was, in effect, a ‘contract’ between the people and the rulers of the nation, which went on to influence modern thoughts on governance, including the USA’s Declaration of Independence.
“Our approach to storytelling about house and county will be to use the perspectives of three real characters from history: Violet Augusta Mary Frederica Kennedy-Erskine will represent the aristocrats of the 1860s; Isabella Peddie, the house cook, will offer views and gossip from ‘downstairs’; and William Young, the overseer, talks about the running of the estate.
“This combination of real people and real stories, along with a spectacularly beautiful landscape, will be irresistible to visitors.”
The estate includes Dun’s Dish, Montrose Basin, Old Dun Kirk, Erskine Mausoleum and a stretch of the South Esk river.
NTS chief executive Simon Skinner said: “This is a transformational investment that will offer a rich experience for people of all ages.
“The combination, of house, landscape and artefacts allows us to show how Angus, its people and the land shaped modern Scotland, providing fascinating snapshots of life as it was for our forebears.
“Our aim is to not just to make history relevant but to have it come to life for visitors, from the archaeological evidence of pre-history right through to recent times.
“It combines both a natural setting and a human landscape that will be inspirational.”