The Scottish Tartans Museum
My errand had to do with my new book release, McIntosh Summer. Chief William McIntosh of the Muscogee Creek Nation, always wore a tartan sash across his chest. It can be seen in his portraits, and figures into my story. His father William McIntosh and his grandfather John McIntosh, are Scots. His mother is a Creek of the Wind Clan. The Chief honored both heritages with dignity.
On Main Street in Franklin is The Scottish Tartans Museum. This was my destination on Tuesday. I hoped they would allow me to photograph the Macintosh Tartan. I wanted it for the color band on my bookmarks for this new book.
It turned into a great morning. What I thought was the museum is actually the store. The museum is down the steps into the basement. It’s like going into the basement of a medieval castle. As I moved down the steps the air chilled and was scented with must. The floor is uneven stone, the walls are rock and look ancient. It’s quiet, dank and musty. It’s totally “in character” with Scotland. I never guessed it to be such a treasure. I loved it.
This is the only museum in the U. S. devoted solely to Highland dress. The museum was founded in 1988 by Dr. Gordon Tealle of Teallach, who also founded the Scottish Tartans Society. The displays follow the development of the kilt and the tartan system. There are over 500 tartans on display with over 6000 in their computer base. The exhibits are interesting, from the complex loom to the attire, and including the early American history and Indian connection.
In the gift shop the proprietor explained the crest of the McIntoshes and how it would have been worn by Chief William. He explained the reason McIntosh and Macintosh are interchanged. I bought some shortbread for the trip home and took a bunch of pictures.
It happens that this weekend – always Father’s Day weekend, I learned – is the annual Taste of Scotland in Franklin. (Next year I’ll be there with McIntosh Summer!) The event begins Thursday with a golf tournament and a clan dinner with Celtic entertainment. Friday at Ruby Cinemas, 10 am, see the films McBeth and Braveheart, a children’s movie, and bagpipes. Downtown Friday 10-4 music in the square, with Ceilidh 7-9 pm. Saturday beginning at 9 am, parade, dancing, sword fighting, Border Collie demonstrations, shortbread competition and Highland wrestling. Cherokees will demonstrate skills and games showing the Scottish-Native connection. Sunday morning at Franklin 1st Presbyterian the Kirkin of the Tartan, and in the afternoon the “Montgomery Tour,” showing the history of the Scots in Franklin. Pretty amazing stuff. So glad I stopped by. I did more than take a photo of the tartan, I bought a scarf. Have you ever felt the fabric of a tartan? It’s irresistible.