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St Vigeans Sculptured Stones, Arbroath

Categories: Art Museums, Museums
Inspirock Rating:
4.3/5 based on 15+ reviews on the web
St Vigeans Sculptured Stones is located in Arbroath. Using our custom trip planner, Arbroath attractions like St Vigeans Sculptured Stones can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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  • The museum sadly lacks standard tourist signs for some hard to fathom reason and this has resulted in the museum only being open by special request - hard to understand given the exceptional collectio...  read more »
  • This small museum is packed to the brim with lovely Pictish stones...a must visit for any Pictish enthusiast! The stones are well presented with suitable lighting bringing out the carving detail, and ...  read more »
  • You need to make a reservation to see the stones because they are in a purpose-built museum. Make the call! If you are into history and the Picts this is a must see. The stones are amazing and well pr...  read more »
  • The museum and nearby church are closed unless you book the visit in advance by phone. So plan well in advance if you want to visit.
  • Before the Romans, Gaels, Vikings, Normans, or Saxons left their marks on Scotland, the Picts dominated the north. With rare exception, they left behind little historical record, but the archeological record includes a rich collection of artifacts, most notably their highly-illustrative carved stones. Today, the interpretation of the iconography used in these stones remains speculative, although many of the carvings represent obvious subjects: people, animals (real and mythological), tools, and (after the introduction of Christianity) both recognizable Biblical stories and (of course) crosses. Eventually, the Picts would merge with the Gaels, and as a result Pictish carvings would be influenced by the Celtic style of Insular art (e.g., Celtic Knotwork). This is exclusive to (and arguably inseparable from) Christian influenced carvings. While we were in Scotland, we made a point of visiting a number of churches that had original collections of Pictish art, as well as two (excellent) museums: Meigle Sculptured Stone Museum and (by appointment) St Vigeans Sculptured Stones Museum. Between the two, I preferred St. Vigeans, although both offer excellent collections of carved stones that are worth visiting if you are interested in Pictish art. You will want to call ahead to schedule an appointment to see the stones. The museum is not regularly staffed, and will not be open if you show up unannounced. You can also schedule appointments from nearby Arbroath Abbey, although don't rely on being able to gain access on short notice. Despite the inconvenience of needing to schedule your visit, the benefit of this is that you'll likely have the museum to yourself, and the staff member that lets you in will gladly provide additional information on the stones. In our case, the staff member was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, and her passion, knowledge, and insight are part of why we enjoyed St. Vigeans even more than Meigle. In addition to the individual attention and unparalleled collection, the other differentiator of St. Vigeans is the presentation. The stones are nicely mounted a lit, making it easier to appreciate the detail of the stones. The only downside of the venue is that it is small, although with individual access that ought not pose a problem. (As a result, they previously prohibited photography, although they recently changed this policy).
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