Timespan nominated for Museum of the Year 2021

Picture of outside of Timespan museum - brown top half and yellow bottom half of building with the letters in yellow of the name (timespan) across the brown wood on the top half

The Timespan gang are beyond delighted and honoured to be shortlisted for this year’s Artfund Museum of the Year award for their programme and work during lockdown. The second Highland Museum (read about Gairloch Museum’s win here) in two years to make the cut for the biggest prize in the Museum world. 

Cultural institutions across the globe proved that culture is needed in the best, and worst, of times, and the Timespan gang responded with their best spirit and kept their community connected, engaged and active throughout with their online Real Rights exhibition telling the history of the parish within the intersecting framework of climate change and colonialism; YASS! Club @ Home where  village kids tackled big ideas in joyous ways in their Friday home-delivered activity packs, from growing their own veg and cooking for the village to making their own stargazing kits and learning about space commons; TYCI saved local teens from boredom with online workshops including investigative journalism and dj and radio broadcast skills; the People’s Mobile Archive kept our elders active and generated amazing new oral histories (shout out to Christine who initiated their mobile lending library) and their quarantine cooking show Recipes For A Disaster taught us how to prepare and make Billy Cowie’s famed lobster salad from local fish shack C Food & Eat (Don’s La Mirage meringues and Ann’s B&B brekkies are top of the list for the coming season).

Timespan Helmsdale Image © Marc Atkins / Art Fund 2021

The Chair of Timespan’s Board, Jean Sargent, says
“ I am absolutely delighted that Timespan has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year. We have a very strong team here with an experienced board, an innovative staff and dedicated volunteers who along with our committed funders have all contributed to get us to this position. When lockdown struck, the team were quick to realise the difficulties this would entail and set about finding ways to overcome the physical closure of our museum. They worked alongside Helmsdale’s resilience group to provide enlightenment, entertainment and solace for everyone, young and old, in our community. Also, by digitising our latest exhibition and our museum offering they were able to entice a whole new global audience. Their hard work and commitment certainly deserves this prestigious accolade”.

We wish them luck for the final!

p.s. You can dry your dishes and decorate your walls with their Heritage Manifesto, which is featured on
beautiful new tea towels and posters.100% profits go to United Friends and Family Campaign (UFFC), a coalition of families and friends affected by deaths in UK custody.

Lost Inverlael: A’ Lorg Baile Bhlàir – getting onsite!

view of glen with community members standing in circle surveying site

We’re delighted to welcome back Ullapool Museum as guest bloggers to update us on their Lost Inverlael project as they finally get out onsite and surveying.

‘Lost Inverlael: A’ Lorg Baile Bhlàir’ is a two year community archaeology project run by Ullapool Museum to explore the lost Clearance townships of Inverlael and Balblair. Over the last six months we have been waiting with bated breath to get onsite for the first phase of the archaeology work. The lifting of lockdown measures in mid-May meant that we have now been out and about and making some really exciting discoveries! 

Over the last month we been working with volunteers from the local community and students from Ullapool High School to make a walkover survey, logging any identifiable structures or interesting looking features across the site. This involved using GPS to map each feature and then using poles and tapes to measure and record the details. This has been a huge task and the contribution of the volunteers has been really important. The site has never previously been recorded and the full extent of the township of Inverlael is only now being realised. It stretches across an area of more than two miles; from the visible remains on the current Inverlael Farm and into what is now plantation forest managed by Forestry Land Scotland. 

At the top of the glen, beyond the forestry land is the site of the township’s summer ‘shelings’. Sheilings were an important part of ‘transhumance’, a widespread Highland and European cattle herding practice. In the summer months many communities decamped with their domestic animals up to sheltered glens among the hills. This protected the crops growing in the township and the cattle could feed on sweet hill grass. And it was up here that we have made our best discovery to date… an illicit whisky still! We have a site visit planned in July with an expert research team to explore this site further… so watch out for further updates in the coming weeks!

Meanwhile we are continuing our research to find Inverlael descendants and exploring the archives to illuminate the rich history of this now forgotten Highland township.

Discover more about the ‘Lost Inverlael: A’ Lorg Baile Bhlàir’ project on our dedicated Facebook page and also here: 

https://ullapoolmuseum.co.uk/elementor-1498/

Read the first blog on the Lost Inverlael project here.

Podcasting 101!

So you want to make a podcast? XpoNorth did a series of instructional blogs that go through the key skills of recording, editing and distribution. You can access them all here:

Podcast blog 1: Recording – https://xponorth.co.uk/blog/so-you-want-to-make-a-podcast-part-1-recording

Podcast blog 2: Mixing and Post Production – https://xponorth.co.uk/blog/so-you-want-to-make-a-podcast-part-2-mixing-and-post-production

Podcast blog 3: Distribution – https://xponorth.co.uk/blog/so-you-want-to-make-a-podcast-part-3-distribution

Good Governance

Governance is the term used to describe the trustees’ role in:

  • The long term direction of the charity, including its objectives or purposes;
  • Implementing policies and activities to achieve objectives;
  • Complying with legal requirements;
  • Accountability to those with an interest or ‘stake’ in the charity.

‘Good governance should happen throughout a charity. The trustee board is responsible for good governance but they rely on many different people to be able to govern well: staff, volunteers, advisors and stakeholders.’ – NCVO

“Good governance is fundamental to effective museum activity”

Charity trustees are the people who have the general management and control of the administration of a charity. Depending on the individual charity’s constitution, they may be called Board members, directors, management committee members, charity trustees, governors or patrons.

The underlying principles are contained in section 66 of the 2005 Act, which sets out charity trustees’ general duties. The charity trustees must act in the interests of the charity.

Most relevantly they must:

  • Seek to ensure that the charity acts consistently with its purposes
  • Act with care and diligence; charity trustees must manage the affairs of their charity with the same care and diligence that it is reasonable to expect of someone managing the affairs of another person

A board is accountable to:

  • Transparency is an integral part of board behaviour. On an individual basis this applies to trustees who must declare all interests and potential conflicts of interest, there must be no hidden agendas or divided loyalties. Reporting must be open and honest. Rolling internal audits ensure that controls are in place and working effectively;
  • Conflicts of interest need to be managed, this is a legal requirement. Where someone is a member or employee of another organisation then that relationship must be recorded and regularly updated. A trustee cannot represent the interests of another organisation while acting on behalf of the museum. A register of interests must be in place and updated every 12 months, alongside a current policy on conflicts of interest.
  • A board must acknowledge and manage risk. The Board retains overall responsibility for risk management and discusses and decides the level of risk that it is prepared to tolerate. It promotes a culture of prudence with resources but also understands that being over cautious and risk averse is itself a risk.

What Makes a Really Great Board?

  • Good boards must “Review, reflect, learn and develop” – Leading Governance. This is an ongoing process of skills development and learning (see The Learning Board by Bob Garrett), that is used to develop an ethos of improved effectiveness and best practice. The board that doesn’t commit to development risks not having the skills, expertise and diversity to lead its organisation successfully, Bob Garrett puts this very clearly in his book The Fish Rots from the Head –

For organisations to survive and grow, their rate of learning has to be equal to, or greater than, the rate of change in their environment”

  • A balanced, informed contribution from all trustees that leads to a consensus in direction. It’s essential that all voices are heard, that trustees arrive at meetings informed and prepared, and that there is an ability within a board to challenge and debate issues openly;
  • There must be transparency at all times to engender trust from stakeholders in the decision making process;
  • Mutual respect between trustees and between trustees, management and volunteers. There must be clear lines of communication and clarity of roles and responsibilities. To avoid undermining staff and risking reputational damage it is essential that the Chair and the CEO/Director/Senior Volunteer work closely together to ensure that all communications between board and staff goes through them. A common damaging habit is where trustees become involved in day to day operations;
  • A good chairperson is essential. They must have strong leadership skills, provide structured agendas and make sure that accurate and relevant information is available in a timely manner to enable the board to make effective decisions;
  • A proper process for ensuring ongoing board renewal must be in place. 9 years as a trustee is the maximum recommended by the Code of Governance 2010. Diversity should not be considered a ‘tick box’ effort. To really ensure that you fully represent all your stakeholders, and have the skills and experience in place to effectively deliver your organisational goals there must be genuine diversity on a board.

Role of the Board

  • The board should be clear about the museum’s purposes and ensure these are delivered;
  • Develop and leading the organisation’s mission and strategic direction in line with the museum’s purposes and values;
  • Ensure that the museum complies with all legal and regulatory legislation as a minimum requirement, ideally they should demonstrate leadership by continually improving and developing best practice;
  • Really effective planning and control, ensuring that agreed targets are in place and are measurable and achievable;
  • To ensure a high standard of governance, ethics and behaviours throughout the organisation, boards must lead by example and ensure trustees behave accordingly;
  • To select (and where appropriate remunerate) the CEO and ensure effective management;
  • To ensure adequate resources are in place, the board is responsible for ensuring that the organisation has a deliverable and realistic fundraising strategy in place.

Role of the Trustee

  • The trustee must effectively prepare for and contribute to board and committee meetings;
  • To be well informed about the organisation’s purpose, strategies, services and operating environment;
  • To be prepared to challenge the CEO in an open and constructive way, and to support them and their position within the organisation;
  • To advocate for the museum;
  • To maintain balance between strategy and management;
  • To question effectively and share responsibility for decisions;
  • To undertake other roles as required, for example interview panels, disciplinary appeals etc..;
  • To avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest, disclose potential conflicts of interest immediately to the Chair.

Role of the Chair

  • To lead the board and ensure its effectively meeting its goals by
    • Making sure resources are used efficiently;
    • Ensuring high standards of governance and leadership at all times from the trustees;
    • Representing the museum;
    • Assessing and auditing the effectiveness of the board/trustees and putting in place processes for the continual development of the board – The Learning Board. Governance development should be a part of any strategic plans.
  • Ensuring the board is efficient and effective by
    • Properly planning meetings and making sure all trustees have relevant information to make decisions;
    • Putting in place process for induction of new trustees;
    • Ensuring energy is focussed on priorities and not on the minutiae of day to day operations, this is the role of management;
    • Securing professional advice where needed;
    • Ensuring the board is kept informed of performance data;

Establishing a good, balanced working relationship with the CEO to enable effective planning, control, support and appraisal.

Useful Links

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator – www.oscr.org.uk

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations: Setting up a Charity – Get Started Guide – www.scvo.org.uk/setting-up-a-charity

Voluntary Action Scotland – www.vascotland.org

Volunteers

Volunteering Scotland has an amazing list of resources to help you manage and support volunteers. It includes templates and guides to creating volunteer induction packs, role descriptions, policies, measuring impact and creating an inclusive environment. All these resources can be downloaded here:

https://www.volunteerscotland.net/for-organisations/guidance/all-guidance-and-templates/

Heritage volunteering group is another good site for resources and support – https://heritagevolunteeringgroup.org.uk/links-resources/

Fundraising

Inspiring fundraising aims to help everyone in the heritage sector in Scotland raise funds for their organisation, cause or project, effectively and with greater confidence. It is the most comprehensive guide to understanding the principles of funding, developing a strategy and writing a case for support. Visit the website below:

https://inspiringfundraising.co.uk/

Useful websites and organisations

The following websites contain general fundraising information as well as information specifically related to trusts and foundations. They are updated regularly and contain links to funders and their application guidelines. As funders can (and often do) change their criteria and grants programmes, it’s useful to check these sites regularly or subscribe to their email updates.

www.fundraising.co.uk (updated daily; free newsletter)

www.j4bgrants.co.uk (updated frequently; email newsletter)

www.acf.org.uk (The Association of Charitable Foundations – links to member trusts’ and foundations’ web pages and general advise on framing applications)

www.chapel-york.com (a free e-info service providing current information on cross border grants and international fundraising sources; free subscription)

www.fundsforngos.org (has a range of resources, including lists of trusts)

www.fundingscotland.com (The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisation (SCVO)

www.idoxgrantfinder.co.uk

www.trustfunding.org.uk

www.oscr.org.uk/search-oscr (Trusts registered in Scotland on the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) website)

www.charitycommission.gov.uk (Trusts registerd in England and Wales on the Charities Commission website)

www.factary.com

Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service awarded to West Highland Museum

Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service awarded to West Highland Museum

The West Highland Museum is very pleased to announce that we have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given to charitable organisations.  It is the equivalent of an MBE for volunteering.

Volunteers have been at the heart of West Highland Museum activities since it was founded almost 100 years ago.  However, over the past decade volunteers have made an even more important contribution to the running of the museum when free entry to the museum was introduced in 2011 to increase visitor engagement.  Over this period our visitor numbers rose from 9,000 – 60,800.  Volunteers have been core to our success and deliver core services at every level of the museum operations, from greeting visitors, to governance, to assisting with curation, DIY, and providing learning activities.

Ian Peter Macdonald, Chair of the Board of the West Highland Museum Trust said “The West Highland Museum are delighted that the value of their volunteers has been recognised for a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.  The volunteers who support our museum range from board members to acknowledged experts who give their time and intellect freely. The bulk of our volunteers are local enthusiasts who welcome the visitor to the museum with pride, knowledge and a generous smile. The museum provides a stimulating activity for an often, retired community where they enjoy their companionship with their colleagues, enjoy engaging with the visitor and where they can enjoy learning a little more every day.”


Perth Museum trip 2019 – Morag MacNeil Christine Hutchison Irving Nixon Jenny Beattie Sonja McLachlan Colleen Barker John Bruce David MacFarlane Vanessa Martin Betty Bruce & Alan Kirk

Coinciding with Volunteers’ Week, the Queen’s Award recognises that volunteers have been vital throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and will continue to be as the country emerges from lockdown.  Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration for the UK to recognise those who have dedicated their time to support their local community, both through the pandemic, and over many years.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Independent Committee Chair Sir Martyn Lewis, said the awards “highlight the growing and key role which volunteers are playing in times of rapid change and unprecedented challenges. Whether driven by a neighbourly passion to help others or to achieve that well recognised “high” of personal satisfaction, volunteering taps into a rich spirit of generosity, ingenuity and kindness. The Queen’s Award’s judges are proud to honour the achievements of those who help to make our country great.”

Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran said, “I’m extremely grateful for the work being carried out by volunteers across the country, and this prestigious award is extremely well deserved. I’d like to congratulate all of the winners, and thank them for the dedication to their communities.”

Volunteers are essential to the success of the West Highland Museum.  Due to the impact of COVID-19 our volunteer numbers have halved since 2019.  If you would like to join our dynamic volunteer team, please contact Sonja on 01397 702169 for an informal chat, or email us on info@westhighlandmuseum.org.uk 

MYseum May

MYseum May

Museums across the Highlands are welcoming back their local communities with free (or greatly reduced) entry, inviting them to see new exhibitions and acquisitions first!

To celebrate the reopening of museums, following COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, thirteen Highlands and Islands museums are taking part in a new MYseum campaign which sees them offering free (or reduced priced) entry to local residents for the month of May. 

Starting this Saturday (May 1) The MYseum campaign is designed to encourage residents local to each museum to rediscover the history and heritage on their doorstep and re-engage with their local museums, many of which have remained closed for the past year. 

Local museums, which are run primarily by volunteers, have been hit-hard during the pandemic as they rely heavily on income from visitors, but with support from XpoNorth Heritage and Museums and Heritage Highland many have worked hard during lockdown to reimagine their offering and produce engaging online content to stay connected to their communities – locally and internationally. Examples include Groam House Museum’s ‘Groam at Home’ collection which saw worldwide attendees discover and enjoy the museum’s content and its work to digitise the George Bain Collection, a recognised collection of national significance to Scotland. Highland Folk Museum launched its Badenoch Shinty Memories project and an online exhibition titled ‘Am Baile’ and West Highland Museum created a digital gallery in partnership with the University of St Andrews showcasing 100 objects in its collection.

As lockdown restrictions ease, local museums are eager to welcome visitors back to their venues by extending a warm welcome to local families. Some of the museums taking part in the initiative include Glencoe Folk Museum, which is putting its hugely popular Clan Donald Genealogical Chart on display; Museum of the Isles, Armadale Castle, Skye, which is launching a new outdoor learning space in early summer for Covid-safe family activities and events; Art Fund Museum of the Year, Gairloch Museum which has a new animation on the Gille Dubh, narrated by Sam Heughan, a new exhibition on Botanical Art by Cindie Reiter and a new photography exhibition, Scotland from the Sky to share; Highland Museum of Childhood, which will be unveiling its new main gallery following a lockdown refurbishment; Dingwall Museum, which will be opening with a fantastic new installation of the Conan Pictish Stone; Cromarty Courthouse Museum, which has installed a new digital sound system over lockdown and is launching a new soundscape experience, scripted and voiced by local people; Groam House Museum is launching with a fascinating exhibition, The Book Of Kells, Some Mysteries Revealed, exploring how The Book of Kells has inspired two specific artists and craftspeople: George Bain and Thomas Keyes; Inverness Museum and Art Gallery has created a dog-themed family trail around the museum to launch its latest acquisition: ‘On the Moors’ – an oil painting by Richard Ansdell; and Grantown Museum has a brand new Victorian  gallery to explore, ‘Grantown: 1882’ including 21 gorgeous replica costumes on display ready for its ‘Adventures in Costume’ project to begin. 

Six further museums, Castlehill Heritage Centre, West Highland Museum, Wick Heritage Museum, Brora Heritage Centre, Tain Museum and Nairn Museum are all expected to re-open in June. 

Talking about the MYseum campaign, Nicola Henderson, Heritage Sector Specialist at XpoNorth said: ‘’The independent museum sector has been hard hit during the pandemic with some museums not being open since the end of 2019. However, with support from organisations such as XpoNorth and Museums and Heritage Highland, all have been very agile in finding new ways to engage online and through collaborating with each other on activities such as the beautiful Highland Threads exhibition, showcasing 14 costumes from across the region through video and photography, and the Highland Objects podcast series. Now they are ready to welcome back visitors and they want to start with their local community. Staff, volunteers and visitors will all be nervous as we adjust to visiting venues again so their invitation to the community is to say thank you and welcome back, allowing them to engage with their exhibitions and new objects on display first and to help build confidence for all in this new world.’

Museums are offering free or reduced entry for local residents on presentation of proof of address. Re-opening dates vary. For detailed information on opening times and booking policies, please contact the museum directly before travel. 

-ENDS-

Museum Details 

Glencoe Folk Museum

Reopening 13th May – Thurs-Sunday only, 11-3pm, last entry 2.30pm. 

Free entry to locals

Museum of the Isles, Armadale Castle, Skye

Reopening – 26th April. Open daily 9.30 – 17.30, museum 9.45 – 17.00

Paid entry for all – but significant discounts for locals (Skye, Lochalsh, Mallaig) 

Gairloch Museum

Reopening – 27th April

Free entry for locals from April 27 to May 15 – contact the museum on 01445 712 287 or by email to office@gairlochmuseum.org to arrange your booking. 

Ullapool Museum

Reopening – 30th April – 22nd May for Locals 

Free access for locals, but donations welcome.

Castlehill Heritage Centre 

Reopening – early/mid June  

Entry always free to all – donations welcome.  Fully accessible and ample parking.

Wick Heritage Museum

Reopening 4th June

Free entry to locals for first 2 weeks

Timespan 

Reopens on May 17th, 2021
Price: Adult £4, Concession £3, Child£2, Family£10 (2 adults & 2 children), Group concession (over10 people) £2.65, Group £3.50 (over 10 people), School group £1.75.

Free entry to locals and members.

Opening times: every day, 10am – 5pm.
Please note, the museum and cafe capacity have been reduced to ensure social distancing. You can book a slot in advance by contacting us on 01431 821327 | enquiries@timespan.org.uk

Brora Heritage Centre

Re-opening: End June (date TBC

Historylinks Dornoch

Reopening – Monday 26th April. 

Admission £4 for adults £3.00 for concessions. Members and children are free. We have a limit of 10 people in the museum and this is controlled by a traffic light system. Online booking is available but not essential.

Open day with free admission to the local community on Saturday 22nd May (TBC)

Tain Museum

Reopening – 28th June. Free for locals

Tarbat Discovery Centre

Reopening – 1st May.  pre booked visits only for up to 6 individuals from two households. Please go to https://www.tarbat-discovery.co.uk/booking-formpage to view the available times and book your visit. 

Highland Museum of Childhood

Reopening – Thursday 20th May and will be open Thursday to Saturday, 11:00-16:00 and Sundays, 12:00-16:00. 

Free access to all for May.

Dingwall Museum

Reopening – mid May, exact date TBC. 

Free for all

Cromarty Courthouse Museum

Reopening on Saturday 29th May, our 2021 season will run to Thursday 30 September.

Opening hours: 12.00am – 4.00pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays plus Bank Holiday Mondays. Closed on Mondays and Fridays.

Free admission to all.

Groam House Museum

Groam House Museum, High Street, Rosemarkie IV10 8UF
https://groamhouse.org.uk

Reopening 1st May – weekend afternoons only. Additional opening over the summer. Please book via our website or at the museum.

Entry to the museum is free. 

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery 

Reopening – 27th April. Entry by donation. Booking is advisable (as we have a maximum capacity) but not essential. 

Tuesday – Saturday: 10.00-13.00 and 13.45-17.00  (last booking at 16.00)

Sunday & Monday: CLOSED

Highlanders Museum, Fort George

Reopening – 30th April, everyday from 10am. Entry to museum is free, but you do have to pay to enter Fort George – unless you become a member of the museum (£10 a year) then you can get full free entry. https://www.thehighlandersmuseum.com/

Nairn Museum 

Reopening – start of June (TBC Thursday 3rd) Limited day of opening,  Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 11-3pm

Grantown Museum 

Reopening – 1st May, everyday apart from Tuesdays. Free access to all in May

Highland Folk Museum 

Reopening – 5th May, entry by donation.  7 days 10am – 5pm

Collaborative Project links:

Highland Threads – www.HighlandThreads.co.uk

Highland Objects – https://highlandobjects.wordpress.com/

Thanks to Gairloch Museum for the picture – featured are the Front of House team Eilidh Smith, Beryl Seaman and Barbara Mackenzie

Glencoe Folk Museum

Glencoe Folk Museum

Set within traditional 18th century heather-thatched cottages, Glencoe Folk Museum holds an eclectic array of objects celebrating local heritage and providing an insight into the history of the area and its people.  Hear the story of the infamous Massacre of Glencoe, see Jacobite weaponry, explore an authentic ‘cruck’ cottage and learn about Highland life from the 17th Century right up to the present day.

Website – www.glencoemuseum.com
Facebook @GlencoeFolkMuseum,
Twitter @Glencoe_Museum,
Instagram @glencoefolkmuseum.