The Dick Institute

Arts & Culture
Museums & Exhibitions, History & Heritage, Libraries
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Opened in 1901, the Dick Institute is a 4 star attraction, attracting over 120,000 visitors each year.
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About The Dick Institute
It houses the largest museum and gallery spaces in Ayrshire and East Ayrshire’s central library. A recent refurbishment and the addition of a cafe has breathed new life into this stunning building ensuring it will continue to be enjoyed by a new generation of visitors.

Featuring a programme of nationally important exhibitions, permanent displays of the museum’s diverse collections and innovative work by contemporary artists, film makers and young people from the area, the Dick Institute is well worth a visit.

It has been described by the Glasgow Herald as ‘Scotland’s finest municipal gallery’ through hosting an ambitious range of temporary exhibitions and is regularly the only Scottish venue for significant shows.

Previous major exhibitions at the Dick Institute have included Quentin Blake, Wallace and Gromit, Bill Viola, Michael Morpurgo: A Lifetime in Stories, Robert Colquhoun, Abram Games, Pop Art in Print and Gerhard Richter, often in partnership with national institutions including the V&A, National Galleries Scotland and TATE Modern. Many of Scotland’s leading contemporary artists including Christine Borland, Dalziel and Scullion, Nathan Coley, Rachel MacLean and Graham Fagan have been shown through creative commissioning programmes that support artistic talent by linking with major national initiatives.

The South Museum and Loom Room feature stories of the local and social history of the area - what job did your grandparents do? How were prisoners dressed 200 years ago? How many copies of Robert Burns’ ‘Kilmarnock Edition’ were published and how many survive today? Find the answers to these questions and more! The North Museum contains objects from our natural history sciences and archaeology collections. You’ll find favourites such as Brian the Lion, Samantha the dinosaur and the whale jawbone, plus fascinating objects like our 400 million scorpion fossil! Treasured historical artefacts from the roots of the world’s number one Scotch whisky, Johnnie Walker, are also on public display for the first time in the town where the story began 200 years ago.

Dean Castle, another of our flagship attractions, is currently undergoing major repair and refurbishment works which are due for completion in 2022. As a result, the Castle’s fabulous and nationally recognised collections of early musical instruments, tapestries and more have been moved to the Dick Institute for safe keeping and are on display in the North Museum.

The Young People’s Gallery is a dedicated space programmed for, and by, young people in East Ayrshire.

The lending library, housed on the ground floor, all offer a vast range of resources as well as regular Bookbug sessions for youngsters, Little Explorer groups, adult and children's book groups, digi-classes, art classes, meet the author events, literary festivals and much more! Contact the library for more details.

Admission Free.
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Wheelchair access throughout