The Glenesk Folk Museum at The Retreat was set up in 1955 by Miss Greta Michie. Based on folk museums which she had seen in Scandinavia, The Retreat houses an extremely large collection of artefacts, in a series of rooms, each with a different theme - the Farmers', Music, Costume, Dairy etc. as well as an Interpretive Centre, with a relief map of Glenesk.
Most of the exhibits have a local connection. There is a large collection of written material relating to people and places in the Glen, and an incomplete record has been collated of the marriages, birth and deaths of Glen folk since the records began. There are also copies of the Census Returns from 1841 to 1891. The records also cover the parishes of Edzell and Lethnot.
People from the local area and as far away as Australia and U.S.A. come to try to trace their forebears, and are delighted when they can fit another piece into the jigsaw of their past. When The Glenesk Folk Museum was set up, with the generous help of Lord and Lady Dalhousie, The Retreat building had been unused for some time after being used as a summer house for friends of Lord Dalhousie. Built in the 1840`s by Captain, later Rear-Admiral J.E. Wemyss (d. 3rd April 1854) it was a "retreat" from his life at sea. Quite a small cottage originally, it was enlarged over the years to become a shooting lodge until the lodge at Millden was used in preference.
The idea behind the setting up of The Retreat was to give employment to the women and young people of the Glen, a task it has performed admirably over the past 50 or so years. It also gave an outlet for local produce, such as eggs, butter, home-baking, home made jams and heather honey as well as craft-work done locally. Stricter regulations have almost banished the sale of local foodstuffs, but knitting is still sold in the large, well-stocked Gift Shop.
The high teas and home baking served in the tea room are justly famous in the area and for many people a "run up the Glen" would not be complete without a visit to The Retreat for a meal or a snack. Food is prepared and cooked on the premises and served by the young folk of Glenesk in a friendly and pleasant manner in a room hung with pictures of the local area. Wheelchair access is possible to the shop, tea room and part of the museum.
For more information
Contact : Mrs. Val Welsh
Telephone: 01356 648070