People talk with fondness about "the good old days" but, according to an exhibition running at Paisley Museum until July 26, life in the old days was anything but good. Waterways to Motorways focuses on the history of the Glasgow, Paisley and Ardrossan Canal, which opened in 1810 and functioned until the railway superseded it 70 years later. This is a modest but highly informative display, attractively designed and with simple but effective interactives.
The story of the canal is told in seven easily digested bites, taking in Lord Eglinton, the man who started it all; the horses that pulled the canal barges (two to each barge with a change of horses every four miles - no wonder it took 70 minutes to travel from Paisley to Glasgow!) and the Paisley canal disaster. Although it happened almost 200 years ago, reading about the tragedy that occurred just four days after the canal opened - almost 100 passengers drowned, among them babies and children, when a barge capsized - is a sobering experience.
Also running until July 26, at Stranraer Museum, is Strands - The Story of Textiles in South West Scotland. This is a more scholarly show, highlighting the amazing range of textiles created in the area, both by hand and machine, from the 1700s to the present day.
The exhibition, which tours to Annan Museum in August, uncovers information about socks hand-knitted for the poet Robert Burns by his sister; the Ayrshire needleworkers who were paid less than half a penny per yard for the embroidery on Queen Victoria's petticoats and the camouflage netting made in Kilbirnie for the Ministry of Defence to use in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Paisley Museum T 0141 889 3151
Stranraer Museum T 01776 705088.