Unforgotten Highland Women – Isobel Gowdie, Auldearn

Unforgotten Highland Women – Isobel Gowdie, Auldearn

June 30 @ 1:00 pm 3:00 pm

The Witch of Auldearn – Isobel Gowdie  (17th century). The story of Isobel Gowdie is embedded in the world of academia as part of the Scottish Witch Trial accounts.  Her story has also featured in a music composition by James McMillan and most recently an American novelist (Nancy Hayes Kilgore )has recently published a novel  – Bitter Magic – based on Isobel’s life.  What makes Isobel’s story different is that she confessed her witchcraft without the usual torture imposed.  She was regarded as a great story teller and her story has influenced later studies of witchcraft. 

Pauline Moore, BBC producer and reporter and experienced podcaster, will be in conversation with Melissa Davies, curator of Nairn Museum, Andrew Grant Mackenzie, Highland Historian and Helen Wright who designed the mural to Isobel that can be found in Auldearn. There will also be an opportunity to view some objects related to witchcraft from the local area.

This event has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. This fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players. 

Free

MHH

07388346626

museumsandheritagehighland.org.uk

Nairn Museum

Viewfield Drive
Nairn, Highland IV12 4EE United Kingdom
+ Google Map
01667 456791
http://nairnmuseum.co.uk/

Unforgotten Highland Women – Mary Marjory MacDonald, Ullapool

Unforgotten Highland Women – Mary Marjory MacDonald, Ullapool

June 21 @ 10:30 am 12:30 pm

How is a notorious story which would have been thought of as shameful and shunned at the time remembered now?  Mary Marjory was the only child of a local Gaelic speaking fishing family who had a successful business in town.  She was orphaned in her teens and took to London society, travelled across Europe and became a very successful jewel thief – gaining the trust of the Ladies she worked with  in high society circles.  She was caught and tried a number of times, including on the platform at Strathpeffer Old Railway Station where this event will be held.

Pauline Moore, freelance BBC producer and reporter and experienced podcaster, will be in conversation with Siobhan Beatson, curator at Ullapool Museum and Morven Macdonald, curator Highland Museum of Childhood to uncover Mary’s story. There will be opportunities to explore the platform where she was caught, look at the museum display in her memory, enjoy some tea and cake and to be interviewed for a podcast, giving your thoughts on the story.

This event has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. This fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players. 

Free

MHH

07388346626

museumsandheritagehighland.org.uk

Highland Museum of Childhood

The Old Station
Strathpeffer, IV14 9DH United Kingdom
+ Google Map
01997 421031
https://highlandmuseumofchildhood.org.uk/

Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 will celebrate ‘Unforgotten’ Highland Women 

<strong>Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 will celebrate ‘Unforgotten’ Highland Women </strong>

A Podcast series run by XpoNorth with support from Museums and Heritage Highland will share stories of remarkable women from the Highlands.

A jewel thief, a witch, a doctor and an inspirational teacher are just some of the stories of incredible Highland women which will be revealed from museum archives and broadcast to audiences around the world in a new ten-part podcast series set to air later this year. 

Run by XpoNorth, the support mechanism for creative industry businesses across the Highlands and Islands, in partnership with Museums and Heritage Highland and supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund, the series will be presented by freelance BBC producer, reporter and podcaster, Pauline Moore. 

Pauline Moore, freelence BBC producer, reporter and podcaster

As part of her research for the series, Pauline and the team from XpoNorth will host events across the Highlands to share stories with communities, interview the ‘keepers’ of the tales, and hold information gathering sessions to help complete the picture.  The importance and relevance of the tales uncovered will be discussed, and the first event will take place on Tuesday June 21 at the Highland Museums of Childhood. At this event the story of the notorious Mary Marjory MacDonald will be told.  The only child of a local Gaelic speaking fishing family, Mary was orphaned in her teens and took to London society, travelling across Europe to become a very successful jewel thief. Gaining the trust of the ladies she worked with, Mary stole from them and was caught and tried a number of times.  The event will hear Pauline in discussion with Siobhan Beatson, curator at Ullapool Museum, and Morven Macdonald, curator at Highland Museum of Childhood, to uncover Mary’s story.

Other events will take place on June 23 at Brora Heritage Centre where an audience will learn about Megan Boyd, one of the best salmon fly fish tyers to have lived, and about Caroline Ross, a single schoolteacher who concealed her pregnancy and delivered her illegitimate child alone in her lodgings in a rural community in the Scottish Highlands in 1930.  Caroline was arrested and charged with child murder and the case was widely reported at the time. 

An event in Castletown on June 24 will discuss Margaret Swanson who influenced the education of generations of girls with her interest in the physical and mental development of children.  The story of Orkney doctor and photographer, Beatrice Garvie (1872 – 1956), will be told on June 28 at an event which will be held on Zoom from the Orkney Archive Centre, and the story of ‘The Witch of Auldearn’, Isobel Gowdie, will be explored on June 30 at Nairn Museum.

Julia Jeffrey drawing of Isobel Gowdie
Julia Jeffrey drawing of Isobel Gowdie

Nicola Henderson, heritage specialist from XpoNorth said, “It is a real joy to unearth these tales of remarkable Highland women and the podcast series will be a brilliant mechanism in which to do so.  We are very much looking forward to bringing the stories alive and it will be fascinating to discover any forgotten memories about the six women when we visit the communities to re-tell their stories.”

This event and podcast series has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. This fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players. 

Marie Christie, Head of Development at VisitScotland, said, “We are delighted to be supporting Unforgotten Highland Women through the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. Events play an important role in our communities as they sustain livelihoods and help to celebrate and promote our unique places, spaces and stories. Themed Years are all about collaboration and Museums Galleries Scotland, National Lottery Heritage Fund and VisitScotland are pleased to work in partnership to create this fund to showcase community stories. By supporting events taking place within our communities, including Unforgotten Highland Women, new opportunities with be provided for locals and visitors to come together and find out more about the diverse stories, past and present, that our communities have to share.” 

About XpoNorth

XpoNorth is Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s (HIE) specialist year-round support mechanism for creative industry businesses based across the Highlands and Islands. The project delivers a range of responsive programmes to encourage the continued growth and innovation of the creative economy throughout one of the country’s most diverse regions. XpoNorth also produce a well-established annual conference connecting our business base with some of the most influential networks in the global marketplace.

XpoNorth is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and is delivered by IronWorks Venue.

About Museums and Heritage Highland

Museums and Heritage Highland (MHH) is a membership organisation for museums, galleries and heritage organisations from across the Highlands. They exist to strengthen the heritage sector in the Highlands for the benefit of everyone living in and visiting the Highlands. Projects are drawn from their membership with the key aim of helping museums and other heritage organisations raise standards, engage with more people, collaborate with each other and be sustainable and resilient.

Further information about each event

Unforgotten Highland Women – Mary Marjory MacDonald, Ullapool

21st June, 10.30am Highland Museum of Childhood, Strathpeffer

How is a notorious story which would have been thought of as shameful and shunned at the time remembered now?  Mary Marjory was the only child of a local Gaelic speaking fishing family who had a successful business in town.  She was orphaned in her teens and took to London society, travelled across Europe and became a very successful jewel thief – gaining the trust of the Ladies she worked with  in high society circles.  She was caught and tried a number of times, including on the platform at Strathpeffer Old Railway Station where this event will be held.

Pauline will be in conversation with Siobhan Beatson, curator at Ullapool Museum and Morven Macdonald, curator Highland Museum of Childhood to uncover Mary’s story. There will be opportunities to explore the platform where she was caught, look at the museum display in her memory, enjoy some tea and cake and to be interviewed for the podcast, giving your thoughts on the story.

Unforgotten Highland Women – Megan Boyd and Caroline Ross, Brora

23rd June, 1pm Brora Heritage Centre, Brora

Megan Boyd – fly fisher (born 1915)

Though she never fished herself she is regarded as the finest tier of fishing flies in the world.   She took to the craft of creating fish flies under the supervision of a Sutherland gamekeeper.  She won her first award in 1938 at the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow and received the British Empire Medal in 1971.  Discussions are taking place about commissioning an art installation in her memory and erecting it at one of the gateways to the village of Brora. The move came after a Norwegian angler and Megan Boyd devotee made a pilgrimage to Brora to pay homage to her, but was shocked to find nothing about her there. 

Caroline Ross (1904-1985)

Caroline Ross was a 26-year-old, single schoolteacher who concealed her pregnancy and delivered her ‘illegitimate’ child alone in her room in her lodgings in a rural community in the Highlands of Scotland in 1930.  The child was discovered dead the same day. 

She was put in custody and charged with Child Murder and appeared in court three months later. The case was widely reported in the papers at the time.  Writer and historian Nick Lindsay writes that – ninety years on and the sense of the stress and tension of the terrifying court case in which she spoke not a single word of evidence, is tangible.  The medical evidence appeared damning; the cause of the infant’s death was throttling, but the jury delivered a verdict of ‘Not Proven’.  An absolute cliff-hanger to the end! It’s an extremely sad story with a tragic outcome but it illustrates a lot about attitudes and lack of support for young woman who found themselves pregnant at the time.  The court case was a media sensation at the time. How can stories like this be remembered and reflect on changing attitudes?  

Pauline will interview Nick Lindsay, author and chair of Clyne Heritage Society. Pauline and Nick will be joined by Mary Warrier for Megan’s story and by Wattie and Angela Macbeath for Caroline’s story. There will be an opportunity to look at objects related to the stories and enjoy a cup of tea.

Unforgotten Highland Women – Margaret Swanson

24th June, 1pm Castlehill Heritage Centre, Castletown                                                    

Margaret grew up in Castletown, Caithness, the daughter of the village cobbler. Despite her humble beginnings she went on to influence the education of generations of girls.  After early schooling at the local school, Margaret was sent to board with an elderly lady to allow her to attend Wick Academy for further education. She became a pupil teacher in the town and embarked on teacher training in Aberdeen. She stayed in Scotland when her family emigrated to Nova Scotia.  It was her interest in the physical and mental development of  children which allowed her to change the “Code “ or requirements for sewing on the School Curriculum. The emphasis at the time was on the fineness of stitching on a delicate white material. This Margaret declared to be as meaningless as using black chalk on a blackboard. She became an instructor in the Glasgow school of Art,  Charles Rennie MacIntosh was among her associates.  She developed the “ Margaret Swanson System of Educational Needlework” revolutionising its teaching in Britain and abroad. Children were encouraged to choose the bright colours of thread they preferred , learning to stitch on unbleached calico with wool and cotton. Older girls were shown how to make their own embroidered garments, allowing imagination and creativity . Margaret continued to travel, research ,lecture and learn until ill-health put an end to her devotion to her craft.  

Pauline will interview Muriel Murray who first learned of Margaret’s story. There will be an exhibition of objects related to Margaret on display for everyone to peruse over the tea and cake break. We will also be joined by the local school and local crafts groups as the audience is invited to make their own ‘sampler’ in Margaret’s memory

Unforgotten Highland Women – Beatrice Garvie

28th June, 11am – Zoom from Orkney Archive Centre

The Orkney Doctor and Photographer – Beatrice Garvie (1872-1956), was one of the earliest women to qualify as a doctor, and worked in Glasgow, India, and London. She understood the links between poverty and ill health, and was prepared to champion equal entitlement to healthcare, even when it meant putting herself on the line. Beatrice spent 15 years on North Ronaldsay as the GP in the 1930s, and 40s. She was a keen photographer and took lots of pictures of everyday life. Local people were well used to Beatrice and her camera, and would ask her to capture the important moments of family life for them. This work is now an important and unusually privileged record of island history.

Pauline Moore, BBC producer and reporter and experienced podcaster, will be joined by Fiona Sanderson, artist and researcher, as they talk with special guests linked to Beatrice directly. This event will be held on Zoom and recorded for use in an upcoming podcast series. Link details to follow

Unforgotten Highland Women – Isobel Gowdie

30th June, 1pm, Nairn Museum, Nairn

The Witch of Auldearn – Isobel Gowdie  (17th century) The story of Isobel Gowdie is embedded in the world of academia as part of the Scottish Witch Trial accounts.  Her story has also featured in a music composition by James McMillan.  And most recently an American novelist (Nancy Hayes Kilgore )has recently published a novel  – Bitter Magic – based on Isobel’s life.  What makes Isobel’s story different is that she confessed her witchcraft without the usual torture imposed.  She was regarded as a great story teller and her story has influenced later studies of witchcraft. 

Pauline will be in conversation with Melissa Davies, curator of Nairn Museum, Andrew Grant Mackenzie, Highland Historian and Helen Wright who designed the mural to Isobel that can be found in Auldearn. There will also be an opportunity to view some objects related to withcraft from the local area.

Digital Learning Hub – opportunity to work with us!

Digital Learning Hub – opportunity to work with us!

We are seeking a Digital Learning and Interpretation Specialist to work with us on creating content for a Digital Learning Hub for schools and families. This opportunity is supported by the Art Fund and Museums and Galleries Scotland.

Over the next year we are working with museums across the Highlands to create a dynamic digital learning hub enabling children, young people and teachers to discover and engage with museum collections from across the Highlands in new and exciting ways. The project brings together 17 museums from across the Highlands to collaborate in bringing objects from their collections together to create a digital portal into the rich history and culture of the Highlands. Users will be able to move through historical time, place or subject matter to explore objects in different museum collections using immersive imagery, video and audio and bringing them together to create their own ‘journeys’. The learning hub will allow users to access museum collections and learning resources related to objects and topic for use at home or in the classroom, with the functionality to contact museums directly to set up virtual or in person learning visits. 

The Digital Learning and Interpretation Specialist will be a creative leader in this project, focused on providing digital learning and interpretation experiences for all ages. This position is responsible for supporting participating museums in creating online and remote digital learning resources for a variety of audiences, most specifically targeting, teachers, families and young people currently in primary and secondary education. It may suit one person or a team and are happy to discuss different approaches with you before applying.

For full details on the position and on how to apply, please download the job pack below.

GLENCOE FOLK MUSEUM GIVES SNEAK PREVIEW OF NEW EXHIBITIONS 

<strong>GLENCOE FOLK MUSEUM GIVES SNEAK PREVIEW OF NEW EXHIBITIONS </strong>

Design work is rapidly advancing on Glencoe Folk Museum’s £1.3m lottery-funded redevelopment, scheduled to open in 2023. Peter Drummond architects and Mather & Co. exhibition designers are working with staff and the local community to create a vibrant attraction, fit for the 21st century whilst retaining the traditional look and much-loved charm of the original.

Founded in the 1960s by members of the community, the Museum holds over 6,000 artefacts and chronicles daily life in the Glencoe area between the 17th and 21st centuries, telling stories relating to themes such as industry, conflict, childhood and sport, as well as Jacobite uprisings, Clan history and of course the Massacre of Glencoe. The redevelopment plans include the erection of a new building at the back of the Museum’s historic listed cottages, creating a new reception area, gift shop and exhibition space. Improving visitor access is a key priority, as is improving the display conditions of the more vulnerable objects in the collection.

A highlight of the new displays will be an immersive, state-of-the-art projection and audio feature placing visitors in a MacDonald cottage on the night of the infamous 1692 Massacre of Glencoe. This emotive exhibition will bring to life the personal stories of the Massacre and give a clear understanding of the religious, political and cultural environment that allowed such an atrocity to take place.

Project Director, David Rounce, said;
 ‘There’s a lot of work ahead, including fundraising and shortly seeking planning permission, but we’re well on-track to make a museum that will be a real hub for local heritage – bringing Glencoe’s unique history to life for the community and our visitors from around the globe’.

The redevelopment will also restore the Museum’s listed 18th century cottages, the only surviving genuine heather-thatched structures in the area. Funding from the Pilgrim Trust has been secured to renew the thatch and help the Museum ensure its long-term preservation. It is planned to complement this traditional natural roof with a new “ living” roof on the extension.

Catriona Davidson, Curator, added;
 ‘We’ve been talking about this project since I started working here over 5 years ago,  so it’s really exciting to finally be able to share our plans  as everything comes together! Behind the scenes we’re busy researching, choosing artefacts and gathering stories. We’ve also been running community consultation sessions – we really want our museum to reflect the community that created it so it’s important to us that we are sharing as many local voices as possible”

Highlights of the Museum’s collection include a “coffin boat” once used to transport bodies to the Clan burial island of Eilean Munde, a beautiful 1740s silk dress, woven at Spitalfields and passed down the generations of a local family, a replica of the mysterious bronze-age Ballachulish Goddess and a large genealogical chart depicting the branches of Clan Donald. 

The Museum will open for the 2022 season on Saturday 2nd April. 

Funding Success for Strathnaver Museum

Museum set in a graveyard by the sea

Bettyhill based Strathnaver Museum secures funding from Wolfson Foundation

Strathnaver Museum, a popular visitor attraction on the North Coast 500, has been awarded £75,000 from the Wolfson Foundation towards their important refurbishment project. The community run museum has secured more than £2m in capital funding to refurbish the existing museum, create exhibition and workshop space to the rear of the Clachan graveyard, install accessible interpretation across the site, and deliver community research projects.

The group’s vision is to safeguard the future of the regionally important B listed historic building and the collection it houses while securing its important place in the community. For almost 46 years Strathnaver Museum has played a vital part in the community gathering, interpreting, and sharing the story of northwest Sutherland.

The refurbished centre aims to reveal the depth of human activity in northwest Sutherland over its 8,000 years of human occupation; create an engaging environment for formal, informal and lifelong learning; and improve accessibility to the heritage.
Thought to have been a site of ecclesiastical importance for over a thousand years the building more recently played a key role in the story of the Highland Clearances.

The Farr Stone (c.850AD) sits to the western gable of the building indicating the early Christian significance of the site; while the earliest written record of a church on the site dates from 1223. Recent archaeological investigations as part of planning conditions associated with the work have uncovered a wealth of late Iron Age / early Medieval material including a bronze pin, thought to be ecclesiastical in origin.

Bronze pin covered in mud, recently discovered from the ground

The land surrounding the site mark significant historic events that were pivotal to the establishment of Scotland as the unified nation we recognise today. A series of battles, at nearby Dalharald and at Farr close to the manse, between the forces of William and Harald of Orkney were instrumental in driving out the Norse Kingdom in the area to unify Scotland.

In more recent times the building is the site of eviction notices being read out to the congregation at the height of the Strathnaver Clearances in 1819. Later it was where crofters gathered in 1883 to give evidence to the Napier Commission which led to them receiving security of tenure through the Crofters’ Holdings (Scotland) Act 1886.

Tom Mackay, Strathnaver Museum Chair said: “We are delighted to have received this support from the Wolfson Foundation towards our vital refurbishment work. Strathnaver Museum is at an exciting crossroads, where our vision for a refurbished facility offers the opportunity for the museum to secure the future of our important historic building and reimagine its place in the community by expanding the services we can offer”.

Paul Ramsbottom OBE, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation: “Wolfson places a great emphasis on providing funding across the whole of the UK. Strathnaver Museum is a place of significance for Scottish history and is deeply rooted in the community of northwest Sutherland. It is also a place of considerable beauty – and we are delighted to support a refurbishment project that will bring alive both history and location, as well as providing exciting opportunities for the local area.”

The capital funding package includes support from Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund, National Lottery Heritage Fund, SSE, Museum Galleries Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Dounreay and the Caithness and North Sutherland Fund.

Pathways to Action 1 – How can museums inspire radical climate action in their communities?

Pathways to Action 1 – How can museums inspire radical climate action in their communities?

26 October, 2021 @ 1:30 pm 3:00 pm

First event in a short series of discussion events that hope to inspire museums to take the lead in their communities in tackling climate change. We have invited speakers from all over the world to share their climate projects – projects that are looking to go beyond raising awareness of the challenges we face, by helping find solutions and promote action. Each speaker will give a short presentation before we have a panel discussion and audience QandA. (image above is copyright of the Existances Project)

Dr Rowan Gard, Research Fellow at UCL Institute of Archaeology, will introduce us to the ‘Reimagining Museums for Climate Action’ project and put it into the context of COP26

Walter Francisco Figueiredo Lowande, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Laboratory of Studies in Theory, Historicity and Aesthetics of the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Walter will tell us about the Existances project in Brazil and how they approached answering the question ‘ What if Museums were small places that supported their communities in addressing local climate challenges and actions?’ The Existances project goes beyond documenting and preserving the past, reminding us that such knowledge is vital for the future of the planet.

Andy Mackinnon, director/cinematographer/producer and Arts Curator at Taigh Chearsabhagh Museums and Arts Centre, North Uist, will discuss Taigh Chearsabhagh’s Lines project (which addressed rising sea levels for local island communities) alongwith UistFilm projects, COP26 Message in a Bottle and Message from Upernavik.

Bryony Robins, Creative Director, Royal Cornwall Museum, will talk about their projects focusing on the climate emergency, in particular Fragile Planet – a major exhibition of watercolours by renowned artist Tony Foster that illustrate the precariousness of wilderness and endangered environments around the world.

This event has been supported by the #COP26Conversations fund developed in partnership by Museums Galleries Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and Scottish Libraries Information Council.

Free Tickets must be booked via the eventbrite link below.

MHH

07388346626

museumsandheritagehighland.org.uk

Zoom

United States + Google Map

Climate conversations hope to inspire museums to take the lead in tackling the environmental crisis

Climate conversations hope to inspire museums to take the lead in tackling the environmental crisis

With all eyes on Scotland ahead of COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, people across the world are engaging in discussion on the climate emergency. For our museums and heritage organisations, action on climate change is as urgent as in any other sector as we all adjust and develop plans for the transition to a net zero economy.

Museums and Heritage Highland invite people to join two free online events asking what the route to a low carbon future is for museums and discussing how cultural organisations can inspire radical climate action in their communities.

Nicola Henderson from Museums and Heritage Highland said:

“Museums, heritage and the arts are in a unique position to address important climate issues across Scotland. We are fortunate to have cultural organisations at the heart of many of our local communities across the Highlands and these organisations can inspire and facilitate change.

“However, these events are not just for people involved in heritage in the Highlands, and we invite everyone to come along, join the debate and be inspired to take action.”

The first online event on 26 October will cover stories from the Existances project in Brazil, Taigh Chearsabhagh’s Lines project addressing rising sea levels in our island communities, COP26 Message in a Bottle and Message from Upernavik, Greenland and Fragile Planet, a major exhibition by artists Tony Foster at Royal Cornwall Museum.

On 2 November, the second online event will focus on the route to a low carbon future for small to medium-sized museums by sharing practical advice on energy reduction and implementing sustainability in the cultural sector by connecting people to a sustainable future through culture.

Helen Avenell, Museums and Heritage Highland, who will also moderate the events, added:

“We have invited speakers from all over the world to share their climate projects – projects that look beyond raising awareness of the challenges we face by helping find solutions and promote action. We take a look at the practical steps museums can take to make their businesses more sustainable. 

“At each event, speakers will give a short presentation before a panel discussion, and the audience can ask questions. We hope people will join us at these events and, from the information shared, feel confident to inspire action within their communities.”

These events are made possible by the #COP26Conversations fund developed in partnership with Museums Galleries Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and Scottish Libraries Information Council.

More information on each event and tickets can be booked at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pathways-to-action-a-series-of-climate-conversations-tickets-180894659797

(Image at top courtesy of the Existances project, Brazil)

Kickstarting Glencoe Folk Museum

Kickstarting Glencoe Folk Museum

In this month’s blog we have invited Catriona, curator at Glencoe Folk Museum, and Connor, a Kickstart Trainee at the museum, to tell us how the Kickstart scheme has been working for them.

The Kickstart Scheme is perfect for a small museum like ours. At a time when we are beginning to work towards our Redevelopment Project, having another pair of hands to take on ongoing work like covering the front desk, cataloguing our collections and carrying out research has been invaluable. My colleague David and I both made our way into the heritage sector through similar schemes, so we are delighted to be able to give someone else the opportunity to gain the experience needed to start their museum journey!  Connor started with us earlier this year has been a major asset to the organisation. 

Hi! My name is Connor and I am the Kickstart Trainee at the Glencoe Folk Museum. As a Kickstart Trainee, I am working at the Museum for 6-months to get a taste of what it is like to work in a Museum and the Heritage sector. I’m very excited and grateful for this opportunity as I love to study history and I plan on working in museums in the future. 

The Kickstart Scheme is a government-funded programme aimed at 16-24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment.

One of the reasons why I am enjoying this opportunity so much is because I don’t have a set role in the museum. My role can change day to day as I could be greeting visitors one day and cataloguing our collections the next. I’m thoroughly enjoying this as it is allowing me to get a much greater idea of what it is like to work ‘behind the scenes’ of a museum than if I was simply there to greet and direct visitors. 

I hope to find employment in the heritage sector in the future so this opportunity is giving me invaluable experience and a perspective that I wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else. I still have a long way to go but these 6 months at Glencoe Folk Museum will set the wheels in motion for me.

My favourite aspect of history is that of 19th and 20th Century military history; everything from the uniforms to the kit and weapons. I have a fair amount of knowledge in regards to military equipment and items from that time but what I have the most knowledge in is firearms from that time. That is why I was thoroughly excited to have the opportunity to research and identify old, obsolete firearms from the 1850’s-90’s and a de-activated one from the Second World War that are in our collection. This is one of the best pieces of experience that I have gotten to date as this is the type of history and museum work that I love and would like to work in once I have the necessary qualifications.

Once I have completed my placement at the Museum, my plan is to join the Royal Navy as my main career path. As I have said, I’ve always had an obsession with the military and since I have grown up around boats and a nautical lifestyle, the Navy was the clear choice for me. One of the biggest reasons that I have chosen the Navy as my main career path is due to the education opportunities that are available. When I was in school, I wasn’t a very academic student as I preferred hands on learning to studying for hours on end. This led to me not getting the qualifications that I was hoping for and denied me the ability to enter University straight out of High School. The Navy allows you to study for a degree alongside your military service so I plan to study for a History degree during my service career.

Once I have left the Navy and gained my Degree, I plan to work in military oriented museums such as the Royal Armouries in Leeds, the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and The Tank Museum at Bovington. These particular Museums stand out to me as they often incorporate Re-enactment and Living History events into their displays and this is an aspect of the heritage sector that I think is an incredible idea and is one that I intend to take part in and enjoy.

All in all, I am beyond excited to be working at the Museum and once again I am so grateful to Catriona and David for giving me this opportunity that will give me a taste of, hopefully, what my career will look like in years to come.

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