Don’t throw it out!

We may live in a throw away world but the last 12 months has seen an increasing awareness of recycling and repurposing. And there’s another reason you should stop and think before committing something to the bin: does it have a heritage value? Cupar Museum and Heritage Centre are avid collectors of objects relating to the area around Cupar. We caught up to discover more …

Cupar Museum and Heritage Centre has been subjected to the same closures and restrictions that have affected so many visitor attractions through the last 12 months. The enforced hiatus is enabling them to look at their collections and artifacts … all with an eye on the future.

Ian Copland, one of the Museum’s trustees, explains: “We are avid collectors of what is often referred to as ephemera. Ephemera is best defined as something printed on paper or card, planned to provide temporary information and not really intended to be kept. These are in other words, the minor documents of everyday life.

Ian points out that, by their very nature, such items survive at a very variable rate. He adds: “Examples of the material that would be useful additions to the museum collection include publications by local societies, the local authority, school magazines, parish magazines … all of which carry reports that may not get into the local press.

The museum shared a few examples that we have included in the collage below …

Every so often we will all have a home or office clear-out. Posters and flyers for local events may gather dust on a sideboard or an in-tray – and then make their way to the recycle bin. Ian says: “These are always of interest to us as they provide a background to social activity at a particular time. Programmes for performances and exhibitions have similar value.

The museum recognises that much is changing in a digital world. Ian says: “Over the years, many businesses have adapted to using digital media to publicise their services. We’d love to see residents of Cupar having a sort through any files that might well reveal local company bill heads, catalogues or trade cards.

And this last year has accentuated the awareness of materials that are ‘here today, gone tomorrow’: the Museum’s volunteers have been collecting examples of public information and material relating to the pandemic. Ian concludes: “This notable event has affected all our lives and future generations may wonder how we dealt and coped with the unprecedented circumstances.” It is through the sterling work of those fascinated with all of our yesterdays that we can all play our part to ensure what might appear as clutter has a real value in helping us to shape our tomorrows.


Need more?

If you have any items that help to show Cupar’s heritage that you’d like them to consider for the Museum’s collection, please email them via this link.

You can find more via these link – Cupar Museum and Heritage Centre’s Facebook page as well as their website.


Thanks for reading.