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

02 october 2017

Gairloch High School 7.00 pm.




Roy Macintyre; Pauline Butler; Jeremy Fenton; Liz Forrest; Hugh Macintyre; Irene Macintyre; Alice Mackenzie; Marcus Simpson; Karen Buchanan; Nevis Hulme.



Dugald Macpherson; Willie Macrae; Allan Templeton; Janet Maclean.


1. Conflicts of Interest

No potential conflict of interest was declared with respect to the Agenda.


2. Minutes of the Board meeting 14 August & Matter Arising

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

The meeting to consider a Publications Policy is on hold until our new staff member is in post.


3. Treasurer’s Report

In Dugald’s absence, there was no report.


4. Curator’s Report

Karen had circulated her Report covering Building and grounds; Admissions; Collection; Training & networking; Exhibitions, events & outreach; Re-design of displays; Miscellaneous.

Further points:

i) We will endeavour to ensure that any remaining objects of heritage interest in the AAOR are salvaged before building works commence.

ii) Katie (new L&I officer) will be offered First Aid at Work training. Nevis indicated that trained staff in the High School could help in an emergency should the surgery be closed.


5. Volunteers’ Lunch

Feedback from last year suggested that the lunch, rather than dinner, had generally met with approval. Pauline will discuss a Friday date in mid-November with Donald at the Shieling and then make arrangements accordingly.


6. Museum development: updates & way forward

i) Interviews for the project post of Learning and Interpretation Officer took place on 1 September. Katie Pilcher was appointed. She has just completed her Masters in Museum Studies at Glasgow University and will be starting on 16 October.

ii) Highland Council have awarded us our full request of £200K from the Discretionary Capital Grant Fund, with potential for the early drawdown of some of it to help with cash flow. There was agreement also to underwrite the loan with AHF, with the proviso that LEADER funding is approved in November.

iii) Three tenders for the building contract had been received by the deadline of 29 September. LDN are checking the details and Mia, Roy and Hugh are meeting them on 5 October to assess the tenders received and to consider any refinements that might be needed to ensure that the costs are within our budget. It was agreed that it is critical that work begin on schedule in the New Year.

iv) Macleod and MacCullum have been instructed to proceed with preparation for the purchase of the AAOR which must be completed before LEADER considers our submission.

v) Karen is in regular contact with our exhibition designers who came to Gairloch again on Thursday 28 September. Rosalyn has offered to undertake proof-reading and advises that only one person should be responsible for all the text in the new displays.

vi) Mia has met with Michael O’Donnell, the new LEADER officer. All paper requirements are in order. However, LEADER now requires everything to be put on an on-line report form also which is not simply a straightforward ‘cut and paste’ from the hard copy. Mia is working on this which she hopes to complete before she has to take planned medical leave from mid-October.

Mia submitted an application to Heritage Environment Scotland in late August.

SSE & the Hugh Fraser Foundation have been informed that we hope to request the draw-down of their grants by the end of the year. They (as others) will need confirmation of all our funding awards which will need careful collation. Neither the Bank of Scotland nor the Co-op wish to support our community project at present but perhaps we can bring together a more “ring-fenced” proposal for their consideration next time round, rather than requesting a contribution to the general pot.

A group from Kingussie visited the museum on Monday 25th September to learn from our experiences of developing the project and have given £300 for our funds.

vii) The ‘Outlander’- themed crowd funding initiative has not been as productive as we had hoped but has generated financial support which we might well not otherwise have received and it has brought our cause to a wider audience. There have been other useful donations recently.

Jane Macleay has offered us another fund-raising opening of Gruinard Garden next year (late May/early June?) for which we are grateful.

viii) Roy and Allan had met Edward Mountain MSP on 18 July. He continues to be supportive and plans a motion in parliament.

ix) Roy and Irene have met informally with some local business people with respect to considering options for the café and retail. A group is to be formed to consider the possible ways forward, bearing in mind the “displacement” concerns of HIE and LEADER.

x) John English is pleased with the results of the interviews held so far in preparation for his documentary film. He has made good use of materials in our archives and is working with Jeremy on photos. John would also like to interview some people who have settled in the area as distinct from those born here.


7. Any Other Business

i) Gairloch Community Hall is in imminent need of roof repairs or even replacement. The Board endorsed the letter Pauline had drafted in support of their fund-raising project.

ii) Nevis will recruit a student from the school to co-opt onto the Board to represent our younger audience.

iii) Pauline explained the intended scope of the World War I project which she, Liz and Dorothy, are working on to recognise the centenary of the end of the War. It is hoped that the Heritage Lottery Fund will view favourably our application for funding support to enable all primary school children to visit the museum at Fort George. Pauline will discuss with relevant staff how the High School might best be involved. We should know the outcome of the application by early November.

iv) It was agreed that the community fund-raising thermometer would be taken down for the winter.


8. Date of next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 20 November, at the starting time of 7.15 pm.


There being no other business, the meeting ended at 8.20 pm.















Curator's Report 2nd October 2017




Building and Grounds


The gorse in front of the museum sign needs removing, as does the bush growing from the burn, which may be diseased.


The fence between the museum car park and Derek Roxburgh’s land has still not been put up.  I have sent a reminder.




Visitor number are healthy – up 6% in August, and 12% in September.  So far this year we have welcomed 6177 visitors.  We have had a couple of coach parties in September, as well as the local cub scouts.  Entry to the museum will be free each Saturday in October.


We had quite a few visits to the archive in August and September.




We have acquired a large brass plaque from the Coire Church, Torridon.  We have also accepted a midge buster machine.  Unfortunately the cold war objects in the AAOR building which had been promised to us were apparently accidentally disposed of.


Duncan Ross continue to input the archive catalogue onto Adlib, and is making good progress.


I have collected one more oral history interview.


Chris Bone visited to inspect our firearms collection and has taken away items which were considered able to be discharged until such times as we have our firearms certificate and lockable cabinet.


Training and Networking


I attended a meeting of the Highland Museums Forum in Strathpeffer in mid September.


University classes have started again and I will be working at home on Thursdays until Christmas in order to participate.



Exhibitions, events and outreach


We had a visit from the local cub scouts.


I attended Poolewe Primary School to do a session on local folklore.


Our current exhibition is on Wester Ross Schooldays Remembered, by the U3A local history group.  I would like to thank those involved in putting together the exhibition, and particularly John Urquhart for restoring an old school bench for me.


Redesign of Displays


I have had two meetings with the museum designers, working on the lighthouse displays and the Geology/Natural History displays.  The timetable is slipping, as it is difficult to find time to focus on this. Thanks to Emma Smith from Gairloch High School and Laura Hamnet from the Highland Geopark who are advising on the geology displays.




Roy and I had a meeting with Steve Callaghan who is the consultant working for the Highland Museums Forum tasked with gathering information to inform the sustainability study.  Steve has offered to be part of the working group looking at the new operating model for the future of the museum.


Karen Thompson (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