Perth Museum explores 100 years of local nightlife with new exhibition

  • Published: September 22nd 2022
Culture Perth & Kinross -

Ahead of the Mod descending on Perth, the new immersive, community-focused exhibition opening this Autumn at Perth Museum and Art Gallery will ask the question, “Are you going to the dancing?”

Are You Going to the Dancing? A Century of Perthshire Nightlife explores nights out through the decades, from the music halls of the early 20th century to the nightclubs of the eighties and nineties and beyond. Visitors will step into an immersive nightlife experience and explore the sights, sounds, and stories of social life after dark. Whether you are looking to explore Perthshire history, reminisce about nights out, bop along to some tunes, or even play a game of pool, there is something in the exhibition for everyone, as we explore dance, music and how socialising has evolved over the last 100 years.

Earlier this year, Perth Museum and Art Gallery made a public appeal for memories, photos, posters, and memorabilia to be shared with the museum ahead of the exhibition’s launch. As a result, this exhibition features not only the collections cared for at Perth Museum and Art Gallery and Perth & Kinross Archives but also the fantastic photographs, posters, fashion, and other objects shared by the public.

The exhibition celebrates the important role that evening socialising has played in our society; from the 1920s to the present day, going to the dancing inspired new freedoms and, for many, has resulted in weddings, families and countless memories across the decades. Through good times and bad, the exhibition explores the significance of nightlife to Perthshire’s social fabric and economy.

Perthshire’s pubs, clubs and dance halls have provided meeting places and cultural focal points for people since the early twentieth century. Nights out have left a lasting mark on the lives of individuals and communities in the area and provide a unique perspective on how music, fashion, social norms, technology and daily life have changed our lives through the years.  Locals to Perthshire may also recognise people, places, stories, and even themselves featured in the exhibition walls.

Underneath the spotlights and glitter balls, visitors can take part in a silent disco with curated playlists, hang out at the simulated ‘bar’, select some music at the jukebox, and even enjoy a game of pool.   There will be a dress up area and a space for visitors to contribute their own memories to the exhibition.

Ashleigh Hibbins, Head of Audiences and Learning at Culture Perth and Kinross, said, “We are so excited to finally share this new exhibition exploring Perthshire nightlife through the ages, which has only been made possible by the incredible contributions of photos, adverts, gig posters, clothing, and stories from our local communities. We are so grateful for their support and cannot wait to share the final product with the public. Whether you are a local or from further afield, the themes and stories in this new show will resonate with all.”

A programme of nightlife-inspired events will take place alongside the exhibition between October and December, such as cocktail making, dance, party food throughout the decades and a lively performance of Christmas songs throughout the years from the Perthshire Operatic Society.

Are You Going to the Dancing? A Century of Perthshire Nightlife is open from the 8th of October to the 23rd of December at Perth Museum & Art Gallery.

Donations welcome.

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