Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of the Gairloch and District Heritage Company Ltd
18 June 2018
Gairloch High School 7.15 pm.
Roy Macintyre; Pauline Butler; Karen Buchanan; Jeremy Fenton; Liz Forrest; Hugh Macintyre; Irene Macintyre; Alice Mackenzie; Willie Macrae; Marcus Simpson; Allan Templeton; Nevis Hulme; Katie Pilcher.
1. Conflicts of Interest
Board members completed new Declaration of Interest forms. No potential conflict of interest was declared with respect to the Agenda.
2. Minutes of the Board meeting 30 April 2018 & Matters Arising
These were agreed to be a correct record, proposed by Irene and seconded by Jeremy.
Karen has prepared a Privacy Notice for the website, which has been circulated and seems to meet all known requirements. Everyone on our Mailchimp list has been contacted to determine their communication wishes.
3. Treasurer’s Report
Dugald has circulated a Report covering income and expenditure this financial year to date. A lot of cash has been flowing in (from funders) and out (to pay for construction work). So far, we have not had to call on the bridging loan arranged to help with cash flow. The very successful Gruinard Garden open afternoon and further recipe book sales have added to the community fundraising total.
We are also meeting our operational costs. Roy and Marcus were thanked for their help in financial matters.
4. Curator’s Report
Karen reported verbally on grounds maintenance; admissions; the boats; exhibitions (current and in the new Museum) and has, post-meeting, compiled her customary Report for reference.
Discussions took place on:
i) The need for a decision soon as to retention (even of parts) and/or disposal of the three boats, depending on the use to be made of them by the designers. If it is agreed they should be de-accessioned, then other museums must be given the option to acquire them.
ii) Exhibition sales are not strong currently, despite quality art work. We need to take a longer-term view as to the purpose and potential income generation of temporary exhibitions as part of the planning for the strategic management of resources in our new Museum, open all year round.
5. The Lighthouse Lens
Karen and Roy visited the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses at Fraserburgh on 22 May. They were informed that ownership of the Rua Reidh lens and other related items, which we had rescued in 1985 from disposal, had been transferred to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses by the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1998 as part of the creation of a “nationally recognised collection”. The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses therefore regards these objects as being on permanent loan to G&DHC. So our collections documentation will need to be adjusted to reflect this. Given this, the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses wishes to take responsibility for the dismantling and re-assembly of the lens in the AAOR. There is an intention to apply to the Northern Lighthouse Heritage Trust for funding to cover the costs of moving the lens, which will be higher as a result of their involvement. Costings will need to be provided by the architects and contractors and agreed with the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. Roy and Karen will liaise with the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and work towards an application.
6. 2018-19 Action Plan (Forward Plan)
Having consulted with Karen, Katie and Roy, Pauline had circulated the Action Plan for 2018-2019. It was endorsed by the Board as a viable working document.
7. L&I Officer’s Report
Katie had circulated her Report covering Museums & Heritage Show & Award (Highly Commended in the Fundraising Initiative of the Year category); Events, Outreach & Activities; Training; Mark Appleton photography; Introductions (to Doug Lapsley – working on the website for the World War 1 Centenary project, and Bella Claydon – helping to improve our communications and social media presence over the summer).
After discussion, it was agreed:
i) That we will still offer ‘free entry Saturdays’ this October, despite having lost money over the Festival of Museums ‘free entry’ day in May.
ii) That we would not progress discussions with Randak on an area ‘concertina guide’ until we know more about how the NC500 is developing its heritage trail and we are confident of having the financial and volunteer resources for taking on such publications.
iii) Jim Buchanan would be asked if he would loan us his photography set up, for Katie to use to take pictures of objects for the WWI website.
iv) To aim to improve the production quality of Jane Macintyre’s Gruinard Island booklet, and others, by acquiring a higher spec comb-binder and to investigate the costs of improved ‘in-house’ printing equipment. This is already being considered by the Publications Group. It is no longer necessary to purchase a new binder in the medium term thanks to the generous donation by Douglas Gibson of a modern machine which suits our purposes.
8. Museum development: updates & way forward
i) Mia submitted her ‘Project Manager’s Report’ detailing progress on the many funding applications to the public authorities supporting the project, outlining progress on the building programme and providing a cash flow statement.
ii) The contractor continues to make good progress (details provided). The signage, with funder names and logos, is now in place. Currently the project is expected to remain within budget, with additional costs incurred being balanced by savings elsewhere. The provision of services within the AAOR is imminent and will be one of the more challenging aspects of the construction project.
iii) David Campbell is coming to Gairloch, with other members of the design team, on 22 June. In order to be able to progress their preparations for next year, both the Publications Group and the Retail Group are hoping that they will be presenting their proposals for the new logo.
iv) The Garfield Weston and William Grant Foundations have each paid their pledge commitments.
HLF has paid its first grant instalment, covering the period December 2016-February 2018.
v) Graham + Sibbold have finalised prospectuses for rentals of the café business and retail unit, which
they will be marketing. Discussions are ongoing with local businesses interested to be part of the retail
vi) Liaison continues with Andrew Johnston for the ‘Newton Room’ and with West Highland College
to clarify their requirements. It is hoped a meeting can be arranged to meet UHI staff on 27 June when
they are in Gairloch.
vii) The Publications Group has agreed the priority paper and digital ‘outputs’ which need to be presented in the new livery, prepared a ‘house-style’ guide and raised the issues of budget, printing options (in-house/shared with other users/commercial) which all require further consideration. We also need to be realistic about what our volunteer force can take on with respect to producing material which we offer for retail sale across the area.
9. Date of next meeting
The next meeting is scheduled for 30 July 2018, starting at 7.15 pm.
There being no other business, the meeting ended at 9.05 pm.
Curator's Report 18th June 2018
Building and Grounds
Local company Flower of the West has been appointed to cut our grass on a regular basis and Willie Macrae has agreed to treat the weeds in the grounds.
The site of last year's wasp nest has been filled and covered, hopefully to prevent a recurrence.
Our visitor numbers were down by 5% in May over 2017, but still up by 12% over 2016. Given the extremely good weather in May, a downturn in numbers is not unexpected.
There is still a substantial backlog of archive accessions.
A number of items were received from Marjory Mackenzie (Robertson) of Applecross and some will be accessioned.
I have not received a response to a message chasing Inverness Town House about a digital copy of the portrait of Dr John Mackenzie which hangs there, which we would like for our new displays.
During May, thanks to assistance from Rachael Thomas, Fran Harvey and Anne MacLennan, we finished packing and preparing the Gallery Store objects for moving. A high percentage of the objects in the Archive Store has also been packed. Fran and Anne will continue to work on this and the Textile Store over the summer.
I have still not heard back about the preaching ark in the mission house at Kishorn/ Lochcarron.
We have been informed that the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses is the owner of the Rua Reidh lens and a number of other associated objects. Ownership was transferred to them in the 1990s by NLB. They are keen to assist us with moving these objects to our new building. Documentation will need to be adjusted to reflect the ownership/loan agreement.
A decision should be made about the future of the fishing boats at the next board meeting on 30th July.
Training and Networking
I obtained a grade of 79% (A) in Gaelic Learners 2B, which was the only class I took this semester on the BA Gaelic Scotland course.
The concepts have been submitted to the design team and the design for Level 1 should be signed off within the next couple of weeks. The creation of content will be the next stage.
I hope to visit National Records Scotland again in the first week of July to study records relating to Rua Reidh Lighthouse keepers. At the same time, I will take a taxidermy object to Glasgow for conservation.
I have yet to hear the result of a funding application for racking and for conservation of objects which will be redisplayed.
Exhibitions, events and outreach
Events are covered in the Learning and Interpretation Officer's report.
I recommend to the board a rethink on the use of the temporary exhibition space in the new building. How many exhibitions should be hosted per year? What should the priority be (e.g. revenue or historical interest) and what type of creative work is favoured? This is a matter for discussion as part of the overall operating model for the premises.
Karen Buchanan (Curator)
Learning and Interpretation Officer Report 18th June 2018
Museums + Heritage Show and Award
Just over a month ago, I attended the Museums + Heritage Awards ceremony in London. Happy to say we were Highly Commended in our category, Fundraising Initiative of the Year. The certificate is on the entry desk in the Museum.
Events, Outreach and Activities
Currently in the process of updating our event/exhibition poster distribution list as this was out of date.
Festival of Museums 2018 –Dyeing About Nature
Feedback from participants was positive. It was a shame that not as many people signed up as we had hoped but a lot was happening in the village at the same time as the Festival of Museums weekend. Saturdays have also proven to be a difficult day for local people to attend events – comments we got on Facebook and via email showed that many would have attended if the event was scheduled for a different day of the week.
Keen to hold spinning and weaving workshops – will be looking into this. If anyone knows anyone who would be interested in organising something like this with me, please pass on their details.
We will be at the Gathering. I have organised a table inside to sell products from our shop and a table outside for a museum themed activity. Margaret Beaton will be spinning for us. I am putting together an activity sheet with close-up photographs of objects in our museum. The person who gets the most correct will win a hamper of local produce (which I am putting together with the help of our volunteers).
On Saturday 23rd June, Jeremy will be informing people about local geology on a walk around the village.
On 8th June, Jeremy led a geology session with a class from Gairloch Primary. Began with a handling session outside the museum and continued onto the beach. The students were tasked with learning the names and characteristics of 3 types of rock. They were encouraged to find examples of each rock based on pointers Jeremy had given them and make cairns with them. Enjoyable morning – the students were definitely engaged when looking for rocks themselves using the knowledge Jeremy had taught them. The process of checking their findings with Jeremy and being correct definitely encouraged more engagement with this activity.
On Wednesday 20th, a class from Bualnaluib Primary will be coming to the museum to look at some of our objects to get a better understanding of what can be learned from objects left by people from the past.
Best Practice in Documentation, Conservation and Storage of collections training
A day of training at the Highland Folk Museum. Fran Harvey came with me. Variety of things covered including packing objects for storage, basic conservation techniques and how to take high quality photographs of objects on a budget.
House of Memories Dementia Awareness Training
A day of training at the Centre for Health Science to raise awareness about dementia. It was part of the package Museum of Liverpool provide when introducing their House of Memories programme. Really interesting and thought provoking session. Will to continue to update about the Highland steering group as this moves forward.
Government Indemnity Scheme Training
A day at Inverness Museum looking at the application process of the Government Indemnity Scheme to lending and borrowing collections. Sessions during the day covered security requirements and appropriate environment for your museum for this. Met with William Brown, National Security Advisor from Arts Council England whom we will have to invite to inspect our new building before we can get the loan objects from NMS.
Mark Appleton Photography
Had quite a few issues with the tablet I had in the lighthouse display to keep our visitors up-to-date with Mark’s photos. Looked into other options that would not give our volunteers hassle but that we could keep as we move into the new building. Decided moving away from technology was wise.
I have purchased an archival quality leather photo album and sleeves for photographs which came to £40. This can be added to as the project progresses. I have sent away for photographs to be printed. I selected 100 of Mark’s photographs from January to June and this cost just over £10. Once the photographs arrive it will not take me long to organise them and have them back in the museum for visitors to browse through.
Doug Lapsley – One of the aims of our WWI project was to create a simple website that could be used by those researching into the stories of Gairloch Parish or looking into their family history. Doug has taken this on. He has finished the shell of the website and we are in the process of compiling content to be uploaded. In terms of long term costings, (in addition to the project budget that will cover the creation of the website) Doug has estimated that hosting will cost around £50 per year and the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate will be around £100.
Bella Claydon – We have taken Bella on as a Communications intern over the summer months. She has been giving a new edge to our posts on Facebook and Instagram and to our submission to the Gairloch & District Times. Bella has lots of ideas about ways we can engage people more in the redevelopment project and in our collections on these platforms. We’re very pleased to have her working with us.
Anything else to add
• I was made aware that holding free entry on Saturday’s was losing us money – are we intending to continue with this for Festival of Museums and through October?
• A design company called Randak who are based in Glasgow have been in contact with me and are keen to offer their services to us. They create a huge amount of products for tourist and heritage sites. I was sent over one of their concertina guides as an example of something they felt might suit us in our shop. I’ll bring this along to the meeting. I’ve spoken to their Director and the quote he gave me was based a distillery he’s currently working with.
o These are sold at £1.99 each. The distillery commissioned 10,000 copies which cost them £8,000 for everything. Each copy worked out to 85p each.
• I would like to invest in a photography set up to take pictures of our objects. On the website for the WWI project, we want to have images of objects from our collection and that have been loaned to us on there. Part of the Action Plan looks to put some of our collection online. Based on what other museums are doing, this does not need to cost a lot and does not need to take up lots of space. Packages I have looked at cost around £70 but I’m positive I can find cheaper options as a lot of the accessories are not necessary for what I am looking to do.
• I have been asked to look into our printing and binding options and have quickly put forward some quotes and suggestions for consideration.
o Printed and binding out of house
• Printed.com: Wiro bound documents (saddle stitch binding is another option but more expensive): A4, printed both sides, binding left edge, no cover lamination, uncoated paper, 50 copies, 40 pages each = £174.74 + £4.50 for delivery. For A5 with the same spec this came to £98.21 + postage.
• I put in the same spec to digitalprinting.com to compare and the total came to £513.54 without postage.
o Printing and binding in house
• Our printer is on a 5 year lease. We’ve had it since 2016 and pay a quarterly amount for it. Spoke to a gentleman at Highland Office Equipment and queried the issues we’ve had with paper jams and blockages and he has confirmed that it is normal for a piece of equipment this size. He is in the area over the next few weeks and is popping in to look at it for me.
• The binder we have is a cause of much frustration. It is not producing quality booklets and takes up a lot of time to put even one booklet together, let alone a bulk amount. I have looked into some options and the best on the market you’re looking at £200 and these are typically electric punching rather than manual.
• Thermal binding was also an option. It takes minimal effort but you cannot open pages completely
Katie Pilcher (L&I officer)
Gairloch Heritage Museum : Achtercairn • Gairloch • Ross-shire • IV21 2BP • UK
Curator : Dr. Karen Buchanan (Thompson)
tel : 01445 712287
email : email@example.com
Gairloch Heritage Museum is operated by Gairloch & District Heritage Company Ltd
which is run by volunteers and is a registered charity no. SC010249