The Mill, Cottages and Byres from the view point.
Until fifty years ago, the rural landscape and social order of Ayrshire and most of Lowland Scotland had changed little since medieval times. The landed gentry, the farming owners, the farming tenants, the agricultural workers, the villagers and the tradesmen and craftsmen who serviced them, all formed an identifiable and supportive community. Their ethic of hard work and godly poverty was admired by many.
Dalgarven was such a community, with the laird, tenant farms, and cottars all served by the Mills, and a village which boasted a sawmill, a blacksmith, a joiner and carpenter, a stonemason, slater, a saddler and sundry other crafts such as weaving, muslin sewing and Ayrshire embroidery.
The Mills were at the centre of this community used by all, and in earlier times the providers of the very stuff of life, oatmeal, flour and animal provender. The smallholding part also offering, eggs, milk, cream and butter.
Now the village has been largely demolished for road - widening, and what few original houses remain are inhabited by families with no connection to the land or community. The Highland Clearances are well known and regretted, but few are aware that the Lowland clearances had similar effects.
Here in the Museum we aim to celebrate that former community, and display their way of life for the present generation and for generations to come.