New exhibition captures children's take on House of Dun's birdlife

Exploring house are Sophie Davidson-Mason, Carly Davidson, Harrison Shepherd and Jack Simpson.Exploring house are Sophie Davidson-Mason, Carly Davidson, Harrison Shepherd and Jack Simpson.
Exploring house are Sophie Davidson-Mason, Carly Davidson, Harrison Shepherd and Jack Simpson.
The work of more than 150 primary pupils will temporarily join the art collection at House of Dun as part of a new exhibition, which opens this weekend

Opening on Earth Day (April 22), Flock to House of Dun captures the children’s take on local birdlife and heritage, alongside their imagined bird.

Co-ordinated by the National Trust for Scotland, the exhibition draws of the birdlife in the Montrose Basin Local Nature Reserve, alongside the property’s own historic collections

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The project features artwork from Lochside, Borrowfield and Southesk Primary Schools in Montrose and is just one example of the charity’s commitment to making its places and stories accessible to everyone.

The trust partnered with the Scottish Wildlife Trust to deliver a number of workshops and activities for the pupils to educate them on the environment around them alongside the history of the 18th-century Georgian country house. These included indoor sessions looking at how birds feature in the collections, from the tapestries to bedding and an ostrich-themed candelabrum, with outdoor sessions at the Basin.

It will also feature stories from the pupils as they tell the tales of the local birdlife and their interpretations, collated by visual artist Sarah Diver Lang. In addition, inspiration stemmed from the poem ‘The Wild Geese’ by previous House of Dun resident Violet Jacob, who wrote about the sight of thousands of birds in flight journeying home to Angus.

Sarah Cowie, senior heritage learning adviser at NTS, said: “With unparalleled views across Montrose Basin, home to over 100,000 migratory birds, and a wealth of related assets in our collection, we knew our project needed to focus on birdlife and we’re delighted to see the creative interpretations the children have produced. Most, although they lived locally, had not been inside the house before. Seeing their faces as they got to explore and find spectacular creatures in our collections was a special moment.”

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The exhibition will run until May 21 in the house’s courtyard from 10.30am to 4.30pm, Wednesday to Sunday and entry is free.

The courtyard is also home to the Angus Folk Collection which visitors can enjoy at no cost. Access to House of Dun and guided tours of the historic house are available to non-members from as little as £11.50 and free of charge to Trust members.

For more information on the National Trust for Scotland, or the exhibition, visit