Memories of Dundee’s Baxter Park showcased in exhibition
Published on 12 July 2022
Bandstand performances, talent competitions and firework displays are just some of the fond memories of Baxter Park that feature in a new exhibition led by the University of Dundee
The exhibition opens at Dundee Central Library on Tuesday 19 July, and is part of the Big Back Garden project, which celebrates the historic and popular park by exploring what people remember about the space over the years and what it means to them now.
The first stage of the project, led by the University’s Archive Services, saw Morgan Academy pupils researching the park’s history to produce narratives, which can be accessed on the Big Back Garden website and via QR code plaques on benches in the park.
The next stage was to record people’s experiences of the park and how they connect with it in the present day. The exhibition features these recorded memories along with archive material to highlight aspects of the project and the importance of urban green spaces in promoting health and wellbeing.
“Baxter Park has a rich history and has been enjoyed by so many since it first opened in 1863,” said Dr Jan Merchant, Senior Archivist at the University of Dundee.
“As Dundee’s first ‘People’s Park’, it acts as a big back garden for Dundonians and continues to play a central role in the lives of many individuals and communities. As part of the Big Back Garden project, we wanted to see how people connect with the park and how they have used it throughout the years.
“This exhibition is a first look at some of the memories we have recorded so far. Some participants talk about how they remember the park as it used to be, with an active bandstand and entertainment like talent shows and ‘bonnie babies’ competitions which were hosted in the park.
“We also have some of the younger generation share how they enjoy the park now, from picking the flowers to climbing trees to the highest possible point.
“By recording people’s experiences, we can build on the existing narratives and develop a dynamic oral history resource for visitors in the future.”
The Big Back Garden project is available to view online. Visitors can find out more about the park's history, try out a quiz trail and contribute memories of using the park.
Big Back Garden is a collaborative project with the University of Dundee Archive Services, Dundee Local History Centre, Dundee City Archives and other local organisations and individuals.
The exhibition runs from Tuesday 19 – Saturday 30 July at Dundee Central Library in the Wellgate Centre.
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