Mark Macleod and Jennifer Jones beside portrait of Andrew Carnegie by Calum Colvin completed in 2019
In an innovative new move, the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust has recently appointed two experienced museum professionals to job-share the role of museum manager at the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum.
Jennifer Jones and Mark Macleod embarked on their shared role in September and have been getting to grips with the museum’s collection, its stories and the history of the building. They will also aim to build on the museum’s success in becoming Kids in Museums’ most Family Friendly Museum in the UK in 2019.
The museum was opened in 1928 when a memorial hall was added to the 18th-century weaver’s cottage where Andrew Carnegie, one of the world’s most famous philanthropists, was born in 1835. The cottage had previously been open to the public in 1908 following Carnegie’s wife Louise’s purchase of the building in 1895.
Carnegie, who had emigrated to the US with his parents in 1848 aged 12, went on to become a steel tycoon, stockbroker, entrepreneur, writer and lecturer. His legacy lives on in buildings across the world, supported by his philanthropy, such as Carnegie Hall in New York, the Peace Palace in the Hague and more than 3,000 libraries including Dunfermline Carnegie Library.
Jennifer was born in Dunfermline and returned a few years ago after working in St Andrews, Edinburgh and Stratford-upon-Avon where she was the Collections Development Officer at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Her expertise is in collections and one of her aims is to open up the museum’s 5,000-strong collection more broadly to the public both in the museum and online.
Mark arrived in Dunfermline from Worcester, where he was head of The Infirmary Museum, and has since created eight free digital tours for the town in partnership with tourism and heritage businesses. He is passionate about customer experiences and will be looking to build on the museum’s events and education sessions that the team established before the pandemic hit.
Gillian Taylor, CEO of Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, said: “Jennifer and Mark bring a wealth of skills and experience from birthplace museums, national collections, university and medical specific audiences. Together they offer complementary skills and we are excited to see what will be achieved by the museum team going forward.”
The museum and its collection offer a fascinating insight into Carnegie’s upbringing, his life, connections, legacy and the world in the second half of 19th century. The collection includes family portraits, letters and gifts, works of art, photographs, clothing, medals and certificates.
About the author – Adrian Murphy
Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.