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An exhibition of "weird and wonderful" objects, aimed mainly at a schools'

audience, opens in Forfar tomorrow at the Meffan Museum and Art Gallery.

What on Earth? features dozens of artefacts drawn from Angus Council's extensive collection of over 90,000 items, most of which have rarely, if ever, been on public display before.

Angus is a very diverse area and this is reflected in the wide range of objects that, over a period of 200 years and more, local people have brought back from travels abroad, explains John Johnston, who oversees the collections from the council's museums and art galleries in Arbroath, Montrose, Brechin and Kirriemuir, as well as Forfar.

"In common with every other museum in the world, we have many more items than could possibly be exhibited at one time," he says.

"Some we know very little about - which is one of the reasons we decided to call the exhibition What on Earth? - and we're hoping that visitors might be able to shed some light on some of the more mysterious objects in the show."

Mr Johnston would like to get everyone - but children in particular - involved in some museums' detective work by asking them questions such as:

"Where do you think this object comes from?" and "What do you think it was used for?"

Among the items on display will be armour from the Far East and weaponry from the South Sea Islands (including some fierce looking clubs), African bead work and traditional Japanese lacquer ware.

Pieces from a beautiful set of more than 100, 19th-century hand-painted Indian dolls - illustrating the dress of a typical butcher, fisherman, farmer, and so on - will also be on show alongside some mysterious local curiosities and several pieces of thought-provoking contemporary art work.

T 01307 464123

* www.angus.gov.ukhistorymuseumsmeffan

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