The museum focuses on the Battle of Prestonpans, a critical Jacobite conflict in 1745 which left a historical and cultural legacy that is still felt today. A programme of supporting exhibitions address a variety of themes as well as local history topics. The exhibition texts are available in both English and Gaelic.
Historical artefacts on display at the museum include musket-balls recovered from the battlefield; contemporary engravings and newspaper reports; a lock of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hair; and original letters written by local resident Colonel James Gardiner, who was mortally wounded in the battle. A piece of the thorn-tree under which he met his fate is also displayed.
The museum welcomes visitors of all ages, with children able to explore a camp area with tents and a mock campfire, allowing youngsters an insight into the lives of the soldiers who took part in the battle. Special sessions have been designed for school classes too, and groups are invited to book private visits to the museum. A programme of events and activities will run throughout the year, including themed temporary exhibitions in the Jubilee Room.
The museum is open to the public at weekends, with groups and school visits welcomed by appointment during the week. Entry is free, although its operation will be entirely supported by visitor donations.