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

30 April 2018

Gairloch High School 7.15 pm.



Roy Macintyre; Pauline Butler; Jeremy Fenton; Hugh Macintyre; Irene Macintyre; Alice Mackenzie; Willie Macrae; Marcus Simpson; Allan Templeton; Nevis Hulme; Katie Pilcher.



Karen Buchanan; Liz Forrest; Dugald Macpherson.


1. Conflicts of Interest

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


2. Officers of the Company

In accordance with Articles 36 & 54, the following were duly nominated and appointed as officers of the Company:

Chairman: Roy Macintyre; Vice chairmen: Jeremy Fenton & Hugh Macintyre; Treasurer: Dugald Macpherson; Secretary: Pauline Butler.


3. Minutes of the Board meeting 26 February 2018 & Matters Arising

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

There were no matters arising.


4. Treasurer’s Report

Dugald had circulated a Report and cash flow statement for the period 1 January to 30 April. We are recovering the VAT on our monthly electronic returns very quickly from HMRC. Dugald is very appreciative of the work Marcus has done to clarify the VAT arising from museum income. Large invoices are now beginning to come in each month from our builders. To date, we have had sufficient funds, given the grants already paid in, to be able to cover these without drawing down the AHF loan facility.


5. Curator’s Report

Karen had circulated her Report covering Building and grounds; Admissions; Collection; Training & networking; Project; Exhibitions, events and outreach; Miscellaneous.

Further points:

i) We are benefitting from more groups coming to visit the museum.

ii) After discussion, it was agreed to trial Karen’s request that she condense her working hours into 4 days a week, Tuesday to Friday, for a (maximum) six month period.


6. Review of the 2017-18 Forward Plan

Pauline and Karen had worked through the Plan, prepared a year ago, and colour-coded it to indicate what had been achieved, what is work in progress and the (relatively few) activities which had not been delivered. Some of the intentions which had not come to fruition were owing to events out of our control, some because the Learning and Interpretation Officer appointment was made later than anticipated. One or two developments had simply not been possible owing to the priority of project pressures. Other points arising:

i) It has not been possible to organise external fire safety assessments for our current building but there will be an inspection of the AAOR as part of fulfilling building control requirements.

ii) Nevis expressed his willingness to progress our Gaelic strategy. Pauline will provide him with a copy of the commissioned report (December 2015).

iii) After consideration of the working paper Karen had prepared with respect to the GDPR requirements, it was agreed that there seems no point trying to pre-empt the advice we hope for from across the museum sector which should give targeted guidance in the near future.


The Board endorsed the Review which will now become the basis for the 2018-19 Forward Plan. Pauline will prepare this, in consultation with Karen and Katie, and present a draft to the next Board meeting.


7. L&I Officer’s Report

Katie had circulated her Report covering Loans boxes; Events (After Hours at the Museum, Festival of Museums 2018-Dyeing about Nature, Poolewe Ceilidh Partnership, Highland Archaeology Festival, House of Memories); Outreach; Easter Egg Treasure Hunt; Museum Activities for Children; Mark Appleton photography.


8. Museum development: updates & way forward

i) The contractor continues to make good progress (details provided) and is on programme. Clearer lines of communication between the contractors and architects are being established. Information has been provided to LDN to enable them to commission the signs (funders names, with logos where possible) for the hoardings.

ii) Campbell and Co. have provided details (as required for the Wolfson six-monthly report) on the provisional requirements for the cases and related lighting. The allocations within the design budget have been adjusted as we work through our plans for the various exhibition areas. The total remains at £336K.

iii) Discussions have been ongoing with those interested in leasing space within the business units and

the retail group is considering the implications of the preferred way forward with respect to the legal,

financial and operational management of the premises and the staffing requirements. There was debate

on various options for the café area.

Hugh is liaising with West Highland College staff as to their specific requirements for services and Karen and Roy are meeting Andrew Johnston on 7 May to get his latest ‘Newton Room’ proposals.

iv) No further donations have been received from individuals or local businesses since the last Board meeting. Gruinard Garden opening (June) and participation in the Great Wilderness Challenge are definite community fund-raising activities planned for this year. A Valuation Day might be arranged.

v) A formal grant offer of £97k was received from HES on 14 April, which completes the required funding package for the project. They require some security over the building.

Now that we can demonstrate that all required funding has been secured, Highland Council (Capital

Discretionary Grant of £200,000), SSE (£100,000) and Garfield Weston (£50,000) have all responded

Very quickly to requests to pay their funding commitments, which has been a great help with cash


The required six-monthly progress report has just been submitted to the Wolfson Foundation, together

with a request that they extend the period for which their grant offer is valid beyond the usual 12

months, given that they selected display cases as the focus for their funding support.

The first quarterly ‘delivery stage’ report has been submitted to HLF, so we should be receiving the first tranche of their grant soon.


9. Date of next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 18 June 2018 starting at 7.15 pm.


There being no other business, the meeting ended at 9.10 pm.










Curator's Report 30th April 2018



Building and Grounds


Thanks to everyone who helped with the clean up.  The grounds are looking good and we have had some very positive comments from members on the appearance of the museum interior.




It has not been as good a start to the year as last year as far as admissions go, possibly due to the better weather in April and early Easter.   However numbers are still looking very healthy compared to previous years.




There is still a substantial backlog of archive accessions.


We have received two objects for the collection, that will go on display in the new museum.  A mourning ring commemorating Sir Hector Mackenzie of Gairloch was donated.  It is a lovely piece, which contains a plait of his hair.  A doll made by Mary Buchanan in C18th Mackenzie Highland dress was also donated.  Both of these items will go on display in the area provisionally entitled ‘Lairds and Crofters’.


Inverness Town House (Highland Council) have refused our request to borrow the portrait of Dr John Mackenzie which hangs there.  They have, however, given us permission to use an image of the painting that was taken for the Public Catalogue Foundation project.  This will suffice for our new displays.


I have submitted a funding application to enable some objects to undergo conservation work before they are redisplayed.   Rachael Thomas should be available to do the majority of the work.


With the approval of the Chairman, OBJ272 was disposed of due to poor condition.


It would be helpful to have the board take a decision on whether certain objects should be disposed of when we move.  In particular, a decision needs to be taken on the three fishing boats outside the museum.


I have not heard back about the preaching ark in the mission house at Kishorn/Lochcarron.


Training and Networking


I continue to take Gaelic language classes, with assignment and exam due in mid May.


I attended a meeting of the SHAPE project (part of Wester Ross Biosphere) looking at the creation of Heritage Trails throughout the biosphere.  Our HAF events in 2018 will also come under the umbrella of SHAPE, along with the Inverewe Walktober events.


I attended the AGM of the Highland Museums Forum at which there were a number of useful presentations by outside organisations.




I continue to try and find time for design work and research on the content of the new museum.  Last month I visited National Records Scotland to study records relating to Rua Reidh Lighthouse keepers.  I have submitted a funding application for racking and (as above) for conservation on objects which will be redisplayed.  I have purchased most of the materials that will be required for the decant and am currently speaking to a conservator and volunteers about packing the Gallery Store during Sundays in May.


Exhibitions, events and outreach


A number of events and new initiatives organised by Katie have been very successful and received excellent feedback, including the Late Opening over Easter weekend, the most recent winter lecture by Mandy and Cory and the Easter Egg Treasure Hunt.




Thanks to Janet Maclean, who has once again coordinated the leaflet drop across the parish, and to everyone who has helped her with this.


I would appreciate it if the board would get back to me on my proposal to alter my working hours during the visitor season.  If the board agrees, I would request to work 8-6 (or equivalent) Tuesday to Friday.  I will exercise discretion and flexibility with the agreement of the Chairman at times when Katie is away, and during the month of May when we are likely to be packing for the decant on Sundays – the only day we can get access to the Gallery Store.



Karen Thompson (Curator)




Learning and Interpretation Officer Report 30th April 2018


Loan Boxes


Received positive feedback from teacher at Bualnaluib Primary School about the ‘Toys from the Past’ loan box.

Objects and activities currently being organised and planned for a ‘Timelines’ loan box. Issue has arisen that specific objects from handling collection have already packed up for the move. Intention is to have new loan boxes ready to have these handling objects just moved over once we are in the new museum.

Gairloch Primary are in the process of updating their curriculum but will be providing an input towards loan boxes and activities run in the museum once this update has happened.


Events, Outreach and Activities


After Hours at the Museum

Our opening evening proved extremely popular. We had a total of 76 people turn up throughout the evening, 3 of those were children. We had advertised free entry from 6-9pm and we still had visitors coming in up to closing time. A very successful evening.


Festival of Museums 2018 –Dyeing About Nature

Our event, Dyeing About Nature will consist of two workshops held on Saturday 19th May in the High School. During the workshops those attending will learn how to dye wool using methods used locally in the past with natural materials. We have aimed this event towards, children and families but have had an interest from adults as well. There will be a spinning demonstration during the workshops from Mrs Beaton as well. This event is also supporting Scottish Government’s themed year - Year of Young People 2018.


Poolewe Ceilidh Partnership

We have been invited to be a part of the Poolewe Ceilidh Partnership. I attended their AGM at the end of March. Our ceilidh is on Wednesday 1st August and our band is Mullach with Alisdair MacDonald.


Highland Archaeology Festival

The Museum will be taking part in the Highland Archaeology Festival. We will be running 3 events over the 2 weeks. A Guided Historical Walk with Dorothy Malone, A Trail with a Tale (Sands Archaeology Trail) with John Wood and an Achtercairn Archaeology Walk with Jeremy Fenton.



At the beginning of March, I helped Peter Cunningham and accompanied our fan shell to the Marine Magic Day at Gairloch Primary School. Excellent day with some useful connections made for future outreach opportunities.


Easter Egg Treasure Hunt at the Museum

Our Easter activity run over the school holidays was popular with visitors. We had over 100 people taking part based on the chocolate prizes won by visitors. Received some really positive feedback from volunteers and some local families.


Museum Activities for Children

In the process of putting together a selection of trails to trial over the summer holidays for young children and families. I’m currently working on activity sheets for Early Years visitors, primary aged visitors and for older children.


Mark Appleton Photography


I have put a tablet in the lighthouse display area with Mark Appleton’s photos uploaded for visitors to browse through. This will be updated as the project moves forward.

Considering ways we can have these on display in the new museum to show the transformation – a tablet, in a photo album or on a screen are possibilities.

Mark has taken photographs of the current building for us so we have these on record.


Katie Pilcher (L&I officer)







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