Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of the Gairloch and District Heritage Company
14 August 2017
Gairloch High School 7.30 pm.
Roy Macintyre; Pauline Butler; Jeremy Fenton; Hugh Macintyre; Irene Macintyre; Alice Mackenzie; Dugald Macpherson; Willie Macrae; Marcus Simpson; Allan Templeton; Karen Buchanan; Nevis Hulme.
1. Conflicts of Interest
No potential conflict of interest was declared with respect to the Agenda.
2. Minutes of the Board meeting 26 June & Matters Arising
These were agreed to be a correct record, proposed by Hugh and seconded by Alice.
Matter arising: Gruinard Garden opening was a successful fund-raiser (c.£600) and well attended, despite the weather. Calendar & raffle ticket sales brought welcome income from the Gairloch Gathering also.
3. Acknowledgement of receipt of Queens Award
Janet Bowen, Lord Lieutenant, presented this prestigious recognition of service to representatives of our volunteers at the Gairloch sheepdog trials on 15 July. The logo will be used on our headed notepaper and website. Roy & Irene represented the Museum at the Garden Party at Holyrood on 4 July.
4. Treasurer’s Report
Dugald confirmed that our finances continue to be in good order, with the first tranche of MGS funding and the Poolewe Ceilidh proceeds now in the account. Irene and Marcus reported excellent income from recent exhibition sales, books and CDs, as good as they have ever known.
5. Curator’s Report
Karen had circulated her Report covering Building and grounds; Admissions; Collection; Training & networking; Exhibitions, events & outreach; Miscellaneous.
i) After discussion it was agreed that Roy would, if required, speak to our neighbour about the fence replacement which volunteers have offered to do.
ii) The slight decline in visitor numbers in July is against the trend for the rest of the year. The changed ownership of the Gairloch Hotel has brought a new client group and increased the numbers who come from there to the museum.
iii) There has been a proposal from the Arctic Convoy Project Group to introduce a joint ticketing arrangement next year. We will consider this in due course.
6. Publications: policy development
It was recognised that all publications (guide book/leaflets/marketing etc), both new and revised, for the new museum should be produced to consistent design standards. The website and retail aspects will also be included. Pauline will convene a meeting in October of those interested to consider the principles before we embark on producing materials as projected in the HLF Activity Plan.
7. Museum development: updates & way forward
i) The Board confirms that we are authorised (Articles of Association, Section A5.11) to borrow or raise money for museum purposes. We resolved that Mia, our Project Manager, is authorised to proceed with an application to the Architectural Heritage Fund for a loan of up to £125,000 whilst awaiting grant/award income. Dugald informed us of some of the conditions of the loan, most specifically that there is a fee of £1500 payable should the loan, or part of it, not be drawn down within six months of the agreement being signed.
ii) Following a meeting with Roy, Dugald and Allan in Edinburgh on 4 July, Griff (our HLF mentor) requested specific information and clarification as to funding secured already, funding anticipated by the end of 2017 and in 2018, and a report on “value engineering”. Having considered the various reports, Bobbi Campbell, our HLF Grants Officer, informed us that the project would be given a phased permission to start so that the tender process and the appointment of the Learning and Interpretation (L&I) Officer could progress. Karen has provided the necessary documentation and we expect the formal letter very soon. This means that we can begin to claim for costs incurred since 6 December 2016.
iii) 25 applications have been received for the L&I Officer post by today’s deadline. Karen, Roy, Pauline, Jeremy and Allan offered to undertake the shortlisting and decisions will be made on 21 August as to who will be invited to interviews which will, we hope, take place on Friday 1 September. Lorna Cruickshank (High Life Highland Museums Officer) will be invited to be our external interviewer, a role she has willingly undertaken in the past. If necessary, we will offer a Skype interview.
iv) After considering expressions of interest and undertaking the necessary checks for financial probity, four construction companies have been invited to submit tenders for the building work. The criteria for assessment have been agreed by LDN, Torrance, Roy and Mia and it is hoped that a recommendation will be made as to the preferred contractor by the end of September for consideration by the Board at its next meeting.
v) The legal work for purchase of the AAOR is well underway. Further tests are required for asbestos and contamination risks which should now be undertaken. We need to have secured ownership before the LEADER application can be approved (November) so it was agreed that we will complete the purchase provided Highland Council respond favourably to our application for a Capital Discretionary Funds grant. This is due for consideration by the Resources Committee on 30 August. We anticipate that we will be able to add the necessary insurances for the AAOR onto our existing insurance policy.
vi) Owing to the inevitable demands of a busy summer season, Karen has not yet been able to make progress on meeting the expectations of the exhibition design company towards providing the more detailed information requested about objects, themes and panels for the various exhibition areas. As she needs peace and quiet in the museum to be able to concentrate on this work, she proposed working some Sundays rather than Fridays over the next few weeks. Others interested are considering the approach to some of the topic areas. There is much to plan and discuss, which should be easier once we have a second professional in post and we will ask Campbell & Co. to be patient in the meantime.
vii) There are a number of options which must now be explored with respect to the management and business operations of the retail areas and café. It was agreed that a focus group should be set up with Irene, Marcus, Roy, Dugald and Willie from the Board and Mia as project manager. Once a preferred way forward has been agreed by the Board, local businesses who have expressed interest in the commercial activities will be invited to become involved in the detailed planning.
viii) The crowd-funding venture which we are planning with Muckle Media and Adhamh O'Broin should help to bridge the community funding gap. Other activities are on-going, though there has been little success in attracting donations from hydro companies and the like.
8. Date of next meeting
The next meeting is scheduled for 2 October at the earlier starting time of 7.00 pm.
The meeting ended at 9.30 pm. Some agenda items were carried forward to the next meeting.
Curator's Report 14th August 2017
Building and Grounds
Apparently the weather has not been conducive to spraying weeds and so they continue to thrive. If I have some spare time, I will pull some of them.
Derek Roxburgh has been asking about replacing the fence. He has priced the materials required and proposed that the museum pay for these (£110) and that he does the work.
Admissions figures for July were down by 4% on last year and 11% on the previous year. An analysis of monthly visitor fluctuations in visitor numbers since 2010 is attached to this report.
All of the objects in the textile store have now been condition checked by Anne and Fran. They are now working on making padded hangers for some of our textile objects.
Very little progress have unfortunately been achieved with the accession backlog, due to pressure of other work.
Donald McIver and Duncan Ross continue to input the archive catalogue onto Adlib, and are making good progress.
We have added two interviews to our oral history collection since the last meeting.
Training and Networking
I undertook training in deal with children and vulnerable adults organised by GALE.
Exhibitions, events and outreach
Fiona Mackenzie’s exhibition ‘Untamed’ was very popular and successful in terms of both sales, and bringing the community into the museum.
The Poolewe Ceilidh was a great event and raised £530 for the museum. Thanks to everyone who helped out with this.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was presented to a group of volunteers at the Gairloch Sheepdog Trials by the Lord Lieutenant of Ross and Cromarty.
So far we have had 14 applications for the post of Learning and Interpretation Officer. The deadline for receipt of applications is Monday, 14th August.
The number of archive enquiries has increased substantially this year and I am grateful to Dorothy Malone for assisting with them.
Karen Thompson (Curator)
Gairloch Heritage Museum : Achtercairn • Gairloch • Ross-shire • IV21 2BP • UK
Curator : Dr. Karen Buchanan (Thompson)
tel : 01445 712287
email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Gairloch Heritage Museum is operated by Gairloch & District Heritage Company Ltd which is run by volunteers and is a registered charity no. SC010249