Cabinet Minister for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, has launched the September 2011 national Doors Open Days programme at the recently opened refurbished Linlithgow Burgh Halls. Doors Open Days, which turns 21 this year, is the biggest celebration of Scotland’s buildings, places and spaces. The event gives free access to buildings normally closed to the public or which usually charge an entrance fee.
It is coordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust with support from Historic Scotland, EventScotland and sponsorship from Aberdeen Asset Management. The event takes place every September, along with Scottish Archaeology Month coordinated by Archaeology Scotland, as part of European Heritage Days which sees millions of visitors in 50 countries explore a wide range of sites.
Civic societies, local authorities, heritage and building preservation trusts act as area coordinators, and are supported by many volunteers numbering over 5,500 at last count. Volunteers gave up the equivalent of 18 working years without a holiday to organise events last year! The economic impact of the event is similarly impressive with an estimated £25 million generated for the Scottish economy over the event’s lifetime.
Doors Open Days provides many unique experiences for visitors. This year highlights include: Loch Sloy Hydroelectric Power Station on the banks of Loch Lomond, open for the first time to the public since its creation in 1950; one of the iconic Red Road Community Flats in Glasgow, soon to be demolished; and Holmston House in Ayr where 4 artists have been given free rein to transform 10 rooms with the help of the public using photography, sound and print.
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