Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of the Gairloch and District Heritage Company

23 May 2016

Gairloch Heritage Museum Library. 7.30 pm.



Roy Macintyre; Pauline Butler; Jeremy Fenton; Rosalyn Goulding; Liz Forrest; Johnny Keene; Hugh Macintyre; Willie Macrae; Jack McCruden; Allan Templeton; Karen Thompson.



Irene Macintyre; Alice Mackenzie; Dugald Macpherson; John Port; Marcus Simpson; Ben Thomas.


1. Conflicts of Interest

No potential conflict of interest was declared.


2. Minutes of the Board meeting 05 April 2016 & Matters Arising

These were agreed to be a correct record (proposed by Jeremy, seconded by Hugh).

Matters arising:

i) Ben Thomas is very pleased to have been invited to join the Board (though unable to attend this evening) and expressed interest in the Riots and Revolutions project, should it come to fruition.

ii) Our MGS assessor overlooked submitting our Accreditation application for the April meeting and it will now be considered in June.

iii) Hugh attended the RACMP AGM on our behalf this year and gave a brief verbal report.


3. Treasurer’s Report

Dugald had prepared a summary financial report. Admissions, retail and memberships are all showing as improved over 2015 at the same time. We would like to see clear distinctions between general purpose income and development monies which will be possible once we have two accounts but, as the Bank of Scotland will charge for a second charity account, Dugald is now looking to set up the separate ‘Project’ account elsewhere.


4. Curator’s Report

Karen had circulated her Report covering Buildings and g; Collection; Training; Exhibitions, events and outreach; Miscellaneous. Issues arising:

i)  Willie will speak with Roxy about the best way forward to resolve the fence repairs.

ii) We have been given a 4* VisitScotland grading for the first time ever, which is excellent.

iii) A display case has been loaned to Alison Dunlop.

iv) The Saturday morning art workshops led by Pat Gulliver are going well - another example of additional outreach activities with young people.


5. Museum development: updates and way forward 

i)  Rosalyn presented her Report, and talked us through:- Fundraising; Audience development; Interpretation; Oral history.

Further points arising:

- we await permission to publicise the recent grant award from SSE, which is a great boost to our fund-raising credentials. An application has been submitted to the Hedley Foundation. The Esmee Fairburn Foundation is the next on Rosalyn’s list.


- we will need to tailor the Gaelic loan box work in line with the funding award from Bord na Ghaidlig.


- we understand that the monies available for LEADER funding have been much reduced from previous rounds. We will ask Mia to prioritise progressing our application when she returns from holiday. (Note: Roy contacted Liz Whiteford, 25 May, and received very useful guidance.)


ii) Audience Report: Rosalyn has produced a very comprehensive analysis of all data collected since 2011. It underpins the way forward already detailed in the Activity and Interpretation Plans. What we are planning is demonstrably consistent with what our visitors and community have said they want us to do in our new museum. She highlighted some of the aspects recommended for the interim and is already working to develop the existing fishing display by presenting oral history clips using Karen Rann’s sea-shells.


iii) The Community fund-raising group is very busy: a new newsletter is in progress; a GHM team of six has entered the Great Wilderness Challenge to help raise funds; the Grand Auction is being prepared (to be held in Gairloch Community Hall, 30 July); the Gruinard Garden afternoon, 12 May, was very successful, seven Gairloch area gardens will be open on 11/12 June and Dundonnell Garden open days continue; the Recipe Book should be available for the Highland Gathering.


iv) The documents recently collected from the Raigmore Emergency Centre will help both with exploring the history of the AAOR and with the model-making.


v) Graham and Sibbald’s Valuation Report draft (received 12 May) will be very useful both for the updated Business Plan and when negotiating leases and rentals for the retail, café and WHC areas. Information from it was shared with several senior members of WHC at a very constructive meeting held on 18 May. Andrew Johnston also attended as, following discussions on 21 April, (Roy and Richard Greene also there), the AAOR has the potential to be one of five STEM D (‘Newton Room’) bases to be established across the Highlands as an outreach aspect of the Inverness City Deal, aiming to engage young people in science and technology. Given the synergy, WHC will support the STEM D proposals for the AAOR. GHM will liaise with LDN architects to try to meet storage and ‘wet space’ requirements for both potential AAOR user groups.


vi) Roy will re-arrange the postponed meeting with Boyd Robertson (Sabhal Mor Ostaig) on his return from holiday.


7. Any Other Business

Preparations for the 2017 Museum Calendar are well underway.


8. Date of Next Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Monday 27 June at 7.30 pm.


There being no other business, the meeting ended at 8.40 pm.



Curator's Report 23rd May 2016


Building and Grounds


A new CCTV system was purchased and has been installed by Nicky Ellakirk.  CCTV coverage throughout the building is now much improved.


David Downie has done a couple of grass cuts already.


It was agreed at the last board meeting that no repairs would be made to the fence at the back of the old police house.  However, Roxy has once again approached me about this and feels the museum is responsible for sorting out the fence which is now decrepit and an eyesore.  He suggests coming to some arrangement whereby the museum purchases the materials and he does the work and would like to speak to a member of the board or buildings group about this.




We acquired a number of objects from Highland Council’s Emergency Planning Dept which were previously housed at Raigmore bunker.  Most of these have been accessioned and will be used in the interpretation of the AAOR building.


We also acquired paperwork relating to the history of the building which is useful for research and model building, and possibly for future building works.  These urgently need cataloguing so they can be made accessible.


A further addition to the archive are a series of letters written by an officer serving in Poolewe in WWII home to his father.


Elspeth Urquhart has collected the sailmaker’s seam rubber on behalf of Douglas Lawson and the object has been deaccessioned.


The documentation backlog continues to be addressed.




I have submitted the final assignments for my second Gaelic module with UHI and await results.


Exhibitions, events and outreach


We had a very well prepared group of students and teachers from Bualnaluib Primary School visit the museum in April.


At the Poolewe Ceilidh Partnership AGM it was confirmed that we will not have a summer ceilidh this year, but will have proceeds from the door at a special ceilidh in September.


The museum appeared in the television programme Heather’s villages.  Hector Mackenzie spoke about illicit distilling and Cathy Macleod about the Gairloch pattern.


We held a soup lunch with Rowan Mackenzie on 23rd April which raised more than £200 for the museum.


More than £800 was raised at the Open Garden Day at House of Gruinard.


As part of this year’s Festival of Museums we held a talk by Dr Lindsay Blair and painting demonstrations by Alison Dunlop.  Both were well attended.


The Gaelic conversation group continues to meet on a Tuesday evening with Alice.


Pat Gulliver is running art classes during May which have raised about £300 for the museum.




I had a meeting with the new property manager at Inverewe which will hopefully open up future collaborations in relation to the area’s cultural heritage.  I have also met with one of the NTS archaeologists about a potential role in disseminating the results of their dig at Tournaig, perhaps as part of Highland Archaeology Fortnight.


As reported in the press, Rua Reidh lighthouse have resigned their organisational membership of the museum in protest at museum volunteers ‘vitriolic contributions’ to what they perceive to be a hate campaign towards them.


We have had a number of donations from individuals to the redevelopment fund and to running costs.



Karen Buchanan (Curator)


Gairloch Heritage Museum :   Achtercairn • Gairloch • Ross-shire • IV21 2BP • UK

Curator : Dr. Karen Buchanan (Thompson)

tel : 01445 712287

email : info@gairlochheritagemuseum.org

Gairloch Heritage Museum is operated by Gairloch & District Heritage Company Ltd which is run by volunteers and is a registered charity no. SC010249