Sunday, December 23, 2007

The New Culloden Visitor Centre

Camera pans the battlefield as curlews cry, and the lilting tones of Finlay MacDonald intone, "We are here. On Drumossie Moor. Now restored to look more or less as it did in 1746. Except for the gravestones of course. They came later."

Yes, I liked the old presentation of Culloden Battlefield - simple, effective, familiar. But today I visited the new, multi million pound, hi-tech version. And I liked it even more. The new centre works on a number of levels - attention-grabbing presentation, plenty detail for those who want it, and good Scottish wood and stone to house it all. But most of all, this new exhibition is effective in setting the battle in a global, rather than a highland context. This will surprise, and I hope intrigue, many people. It also presents the whole Jacobite campaign of 1745/46 in shades of grey, rather than the black and white view with which many visitors arrive. This was a complex campaign of difficult decisions, bad decisions, divided loyalties, a campaign in which public relations and half truths drove the actions of both sides.

So, I recommend the new centre heartily. But allow a good two hours to get full benefit from your £10 entry fee.

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