40 artworks by 23 artists

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Falkirk was a late starter in the development of municipal museums, establishing its town museum in 1926. Its art collection falls into two categories, before 1997 and after. Until 1997, collecting by the Museum was dictated largely by a local antiquarian perspective and, during the 1970s and 1980s, by the availability of material from the rapidly-declining local industries, principal amongst these being the iron foundries. The art collection from this period of the Museum’s history reflects these circumstances. It echoes an ad hoc approach to collecting art, with individual works chosen more for what they depict than for their artistic merit. In 1997, Falkirk Museums' receipt of part of the Scottish Arts Council Bequest marked a change in direction for the Museum service’s art collecting. The profile and value of art in community life was raised within the local cultural policy agenda, and arts provision became a defined part of Falkirk Council’s investment, resulting in the opening of a dedicated space, the Park Gallery. Collecting put a higher premium on recognising local talent or on works which expressed the local experience, for example John Kirkwood’s 'Bulkhead Leaker III', as well as on those works which had a documentary value. The collection now includes works by locally-born internationally-renowned artists Elizabeth Blackadder and Alan Davie.