Mayor Dave Eggers addresses guests at the Dunedin Historical Museum Jan. 17. An exhibit on the Battle of Bannockburn, a significant Scottish victory in the Wars of Scottish Independence, opened that night. Standing next to Eggers are Dr. Elspeth King, director of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Scotland, and former Stirling provost Colin O’Brien.
DUNEDIN – Colin O’Brien, former provost of Stirling, Scotland, brought greetings from his city to Dunedin along with his sense of humor.
A crowd at the Dunedin Historical Museum Jan 17 paid tribute to Dunedin’s sister city. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the sister-cities relationship. A special exhibit commemorating the Battle of Bannockburn, which led to Scottish independence, was opened that evening.
O’Brien, who is also chairman of Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, drew laughter when he repeatedly said that the Stirling museum exhibit was sponsored “by our city who gives our museum lots of money.”
He said 2014 is a huge year for Stirling and Scotland, he said. The Commonwealth games will be held in Glasgow this year, attracting 69 countries over the summer.
“You opted out in 1776 so you are not invited,” he said.
“And we are going to teach you how to play golf again in the Ryder Cup,” he said.
The Ryder Cup tournament will be held Sept. 23-28 at Gleneagles, which is near Stirling.
The World Flying Fishing Championships is in Stirling this year, “which is bigger than you think because fishing is the biggest hobby in the whole world,” he said.
Mayor Dave Eggers said it was great that “Stirling sent such as ambassador over here.”
“How many shots did you take at us?” he said, joking.
Dunedin Historical Society and Museum Board President Dave Pauley said it’s expensive to send items from one museum to another. An exhibit from Dunedin will be sent to the Stirling museum.
“The Stirling Museum has borne this cost with support sponsorship as we will be sending our items to Stirling and hope that some of you might help us locally here in getting that job done,” Pauley said.
Pauley thanked O’Brien for coordinating Stirling’s efforts “from the other side of the ocean,” George Nigro, who is vice president of the Dunedin Historical Society, and others for their support.
“Last but certainly not least goes a huge thanks to our director, Vinnie Luisi, whose staff and volunteers assembled this wonderful exhibit. Some days to midnight they spent putting the exhibit together,” Pauley said.
Luisi thanked his staff, the city of Dunedin and the New World Celts, a local organization that provides support for local events, and others.
“I’m sure that everybody in Dunedin will be proud when we send our exhibit over to Stirling to celebrate during their anniversary,” he said.
A delegation of Dunedin and area resident will take a trip to Stirling in June to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn.
Nigro said that the battle was the turning point in the Scottish wars for independence.
“When we look back at Washington crossing the Delaware and the first battle we really won, that was their first battle that they really won and put them on a road to independence,” he said.
During the battle, fought in June 1314, king of the Scots Robert the Bruce defeated a much larger English Army under Edward II. Items from the battle were recently sent to the Dunedin Historical Museum as part of a relics exchange.
The Tale of Two Sister Cities Tour will be held from June 24 to July 3 and includes Stirling sightseeing and a visit to Stirling Castle, which was captured from England in 1297 by William Wallace and again in 1314 by Robert the Bruce. Tour participants will participate in the opening of the Dunedin Exhibition at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum. Provost Mike Robbins will host the celebration.
The upcoming trip includes visits to Edinburgh, Glasgow and four nights in Stirling, where Stirling representatives will host the Dunedin delegation at a reception.
Seats are still available for the bus trip. For more information about the tour, call Nigro at 686-6750.
Eggers, Luisi, Commissioner Julie Scales are among local residents who may take the trip.
Dr. Elspeth King, director of the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, said the museum will be “totally thrilled to present the story of Dunedin to our visitors and I really look forward with great pleasure hosting that exposition, showing it to all the people in Stirling and getting them engaged in Dunedin because we have so much learn from Dunedin.”
Eggers said Dunedin’s relationship with Stirling has been fun and important. A proclamation was read in support of the relationship.
“This really kind reaffirms the fact that we would like to continue this for at least another 50 years,” Eggers said. “We hope that this a great kickoff for that.”
About the museum
The Dunedin Historical Museum is at 349 Main St. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $2 for adults. Children 7 and under are admitted free.