Take 5 – What happened during the Highland Clearances?

Yellow block of colour with the wording 'Donald Macleod -> Stories of Life'

‘Take 5’ is our series of blog posts, each highlighting the incredible objects and activities on Museum of the Highlands – a digital learning hub for use in the classroom or at home. They’ve been put together to help you explore key themes in the classroom by museums education specialist Rosie Barrett. Whatever you’re teaching, Take 5 will help you discover amazing objects and stories from across the Highlands.

Take 5 – What happened during the Highland Clearances?

Explore the Highland Clearances through the people it affected most. You can explore a selection of stories, based on first-hand narratives, using research by Strathnaver Museum.

1 Discover what the Clearances felt like from a child’s perspective in the story of Angus Mackay and explore an object that was rescued from one of the longhouses.
Angus Mackay | Museum of the Highlands
Chair from Strathnaver Clearances | Museum of the Highlands

2 Learn about the church minister who broke the news to his congregation that their village was to be cleared. What will your students make of this bearer of bad news?
David Mackenzie | Museum of the Highlands

3 Explore how ordinary people can bring about changes in the Law by focusing on the extraordinary work of anti-Clearance campaigner Donald MacLeod.
Donald MacLeod | Museum of the Highlands

4 Consider if we can ever really know what happened in the past. Put this to the test as your students find out more about the notorious character usually called the ‘villain’ of the Highland Clearances, Patrick Sellar. Your students can decide for themselves how he should be remembered.
Patrick Sellar | Museum of the Highlands
Patrick Sellar was a well-known letter writer too. Take a look at his wax letter seal, at Brora Heritage Centre.
Wax Letter Seal Belonging to Patrick Sellar | Museum of the Highlands

5 Finally, discover Highlands writer Neil Gunn, noted for his novels exploring life in coastal villages set up during the Clearances. Explore his typewriter from Dunbeath Museum, or find ways to commemorate his achievements.
Typewriter Belonging to Neil Gunn | Museum of the Highlands
Neil Gunn | Museum of the Highlands

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