Ike chucked out of the castle - President’s show ditched by Culzean
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Dwight D Eisenhower at Culzean Castle in 1959

Eisenhower on the town hall balcony after being made a Freeman of Maybole in 1946. With him are son John, wife Mamie, and Provost Thomas Hicks.

Article from the Ayrshire Post  August 4th 2011     See also  Video from STV     and     Eisenhower at Maybole and Culzean Castle

A DISPLAY honouring a man who once led the free world has been removed from Culzean Castle. And many feel the move is incredibly disrespectful to the memory of US President Dwight D Eisenhower. Items of memorabilia have been taken off show in the castle. And people who asked why it was gone were told ‘because it looked tired’. “I’m shocked about this,” a Culzean insider told the Ayrshire Post. ”I don’t think it was the right thing to do. “If the exhibition looked tired, it should have been brightened up.” “People love nostalgia – if it’s well presented.”

Ironically, Culzean’s future is secure thanks to millions of dollars in bequests from Americans. The most recent was a $4 million legacy from William R Lindsay, who died in Las Vegas in November last year. As a student, Mr Lindsay met Eisenhower, and was interested in the president’s connections with Culzean. Maybole Community Council has discussed the removal of the Eisenhower display, chairman David Kiltie this week confirmed, when asked by the Post.

“We met Culzean property manager Paul Pomfret and told him how unhappy we were,” said Mr Kiltie. “When Eisenhower came here as president, Culzean was his Scottish White House. “He regarded Maybole as his Scottish home town, and he was given the Freedom of the Burgh even before he was president. “That was on Saturday, October 5, 1946 – 65 years ago this year. “The Culzean display included a copy of the freedom scroll,” said Mr Kiltie. “And we have asked Mr Pomfret to make this available for display in Maybole, if it is not required at Culzean.”

Another Maybole community councillor, Alex Kelly said: “The Eisenhower display should be put back immediately. “It was absolutely shameful to remove it. And I understand that visitors who show an interest in Eisenhower are told they can see newsreels on a handset. “But they could get that sitting at home watching TV. And it’s clearly not the same as a physical display, that people can be photographed beside, if they wish.” Mr Pomfret believes the changes will help to keep Culzean contemporary. He said: “The Eisenhower exhibition was more than 30 years old, and the normal life-cycle for a show of this type is six to seven years.”

Mr Pomfret said extensive visitor research was carried out, although he admitted that only nine per cent of those who replied said they wanted a new exhibition. However, 55 per cent wanted to see the Eisenhower apartments – now run as a hotel, and not part of the castle tour. The new handsets give a ‘virtual tour’ of the apartments, as well as newsreel footage of Eisenhower at Culzean. These ‘apps’ are also available as downloads for people across the globe. But Mr Pomfret admits there is currently nothing physical relating to Eisenhower that visitors can be photographed beside. Culzean Castle was gifted to the National Trust for Scotland in 1945.

Donors the Kennedy family asked that the top floor be given to then General Eisenhower as a thank you from the people of Scotland for his wartime service. Eisenhower was Supreme Commander of the Allied forces who invaded Europe in 1944-45 to free the continent from Fascism. ‘Ike’, as Eisenhower was affectionately nicknamed, first visited Culzean in 1946, and was clearly touched to accept the gift. He was also given the Freedom of the Burgh of Maybole, and huge crowds gathered outside the town hall to hear him speak. Ike also played golf at Turnberry and went to church at Kirkoswald, when he stayed in the apartments gifted for his lifetime use.