Scottish heritage probed

Tantalising questions about Dunedin's Scottish past and whether the city is still ''the Edinburgh of the South'' will be explored in a exhibition at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum later this month.

Titled DUNedinburgh, the exhibition opens on January 24 and will offer ''a chance to reflect on Dunedin's Scottish heritage'', organisers say.

The show includes three artefacts, one of them a historic communion plate, loaned by the National Museum of Scotland, which is based in Edinburgh, Dunedin's Scottish sister city.

A senior curator from the Scottish museum will accompany the artefacts to Dunedin and give a public talk on January 24.

Also taking pride of place at the exhibition is a Caledonian stone chair, which was carved out of Waikawa stone for the Caledonian Society of Otago in 1901 to mark a visit to Dunedin by Prince George, Duke of York, who later became King George V.

The chair weighs 1.5 tonnes, and previously stood outside the museum before being moved into safekeeping during the museum's recent redevelopment.

Museum exhibitions developer William McKee said the show would be colourful, a ''bit of fun'' and would allow visitors to cast a simulated vote in the upcoming referendum on whether Scotland should become independent.

Several other activities are associated with the Scottish exhibition, including a Burns Night Scottish dinner and entertainment, jointly hosted by the Dunedin Burns Club at the museum from 7pm on January 25, and celebrating the birthday of poet Robert Burns.

-john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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