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

30 July 2018

Gairloch High School 7.15 pm.




Roy Macintyre; Pauline Butler; Karen Buchanan; Jeremy Fenton; Liz Forrest; Nevis Hulme; Hugh Macintyre; Alice Mackenzie; Dugald Macpherson; Marcus Simpson; Allan Templeton.



Irene Macintyre; Willie Macrae; Katie Pilcher.


1. Conflicts of Interest

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


2. Minutes of the Board meeting 18 June 2018 & Matters Arising

These were agreed to be a correct record, proposed by Hugh and seconded by Allan. There were no matters arising.


3. Treasurer’s Report

Dugald had circulated a Report covering income and expenditure (provisional figures) for January-July 2018 and he explained various details. Our operational income is down, partly owing to the considerably reduced grant from Highlife Highland. Many substantial project grant payments have been received, including the first tranches from HLF and HIE, but there are significant sums awaited from the Scottish Government monies which are processed via Highland Council. Invoices are expected soon from the architects. Given our cash flow, we have not yet had to draw down the AHF loan.


4. Curator’s Report

Karen had circulated her Report covering: Building & grounds; Admissions; Collection; Training & networking; Project; Fundraising; Exhibitions, events & outreach. Further points included:

i) the Highland Museums Forum intends to convert into a SCIO, with employed staff who will help to create a strong, more efficient, cohesive and sustainable organisation

ii) we have had useful project income from the Great Wilderness Challenge in recent years so it is hoped that we can recruit some participants to commit to our cause

iii) in order to purchase made-to-measure racking, Karen needs precise information from the architects about the beam locations in the artefacts store. Hugh undertook to clarify this

iv) more kitchen helpers would be useful for the forthcoming Poolewe Ceilidh (1 August).


5. Rua Reidh lens: Ownership issues

Karen had circulated a proposed draft loan agreement from the Museum of Scottish lighthouses. She has discussed the matter with senior officers of the Northern Lighthouse Board and their funding trust. She explained various complex matters relating to ‘proving’ ownership, deaccessioning a key object of our collection, insurance, and the costs and logistics of dismantling it to move to the AAOR. The conditions of the proposed loan arrangement do recognise this very unusual situation, given the lack of any documentary proof of ownership by either party. After much discussion, it was agreed that Karen would draft a letter for the Board to send, stressing the importance of the objects to our community (which had saved the lens from inglorious disposal), highlighting a number of inconsistencies in the draft loan agreement (which Nevis will detail) but accepting that, with great regret, the lens and other objects will be deaccessioned from our collection and transferred to the National Collection held by the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, with a rolling long-term loan guaranteed to Gairloch Museum.

The full list of objects to be deaccessioned is:

OBJ972 Hyperradial Fresnel lens from Rua Reidh lighthouse

OBJ973  Incandescent Paraffin Lamp and pedestal

OBJ978  Copper Paraffin Filler Funnel

OBJ975 1-4  Paraffin flash point test equipment

OBJ976   Paraffin lamp and brass meth tray

OBJ977   Brass paraffin cannister

OBJ678 1-3  Liverpool lamp, mantle and base

OBJ981  Brass Maker's plate for Rua Reidh lens apparatus


6. Revision of Temporary Exhibition Policy

Marcus proposed amendments to the current policy for exhibition commission, necessary now that GDHC is now VAT registered. The revised policy, agreed by the Board, aims to apportion costs differently but equitably, depending on whether exhibitors are, or are not, VAT-registered.

Marcus suggested that, for the future, consideration should be given to introducing a venue charge.


7. World War I Centenary project update

i) Pauline has worked with both S2 in the High School and the adult Skills & Learning Group to help them understand the stories of WWI in Gairloch parish, through finding out about one individual who lived close to their homes. The High School students also had a day’s expedition to Fort George, where they visited the exhibition and handled objects under the guidance of the Education Officer. All local primary schools are intending to undertake a WW1 project, with GHM support from Liz, Katie and Pauline, in the autumn term.

ii) Katie and Pauline have prepared a database (using Willie MacRobbie’s & Ann Roots Heroes of Gairloch Parish book - with their permission), sets of photographs (mainly from our collection and archives) and documents which should all soon be uploaded to a dedicated website, linked to the Museum website.

iii) The U3A members and others have completed their research for the exhibition A Land fit for Heroes? (8 September-31 October) and Dorothy and Jeremy are finalising the posters. The preview evening will include music. Katie is preparing children’s activities for the period the exhibition is on.

iv) The final event for the project is planned for Wednesday 14 November - as close to Armistice Day as seems feasible. Gairloch Community Hall has been booked, a talk has been arranged, to be given by Bob Shanks from the Highlander Museum/Seaforth Highlanders Association, refreshments will be WWI period-themed and we would like there to be readings of letters and poetry and some appropriate music. Offers of help would be appreciated.


8. L&I Officer’s Report

Katie had circulated her Report covering Events, Outreach & Activities.


9. Museum development: updates & way forward

i) The contractor continues to make progress (details provided). The next site meeting is 7 August when we will stress that momentum must be sustained in order for the construction work to be complete in December. Peter Macdonald has agreed to undertake the construction of the croft house.

ii) Karen has circulated a detailed Report about the work undertaken for the gallery displays, as provided to HLF for the most recent claim. It was suggested that sections would be of interest to GDT readers.

iii) David Campbell presented the design team’s proposals for the new logo at the meeting on 22 June. These have been circulated. Most feedback received was favourable, with the 3 line ‘block’ version thought to be effective for the front of the building and website/letterhead logo. David had responded to concerns about the small ‘g’ for Gairloch and it has been modified to more general approval. There was discussion on the need for a complementary Gaelic version. Karen will inform David of the correct words to be used, once agreed with our Gaelic speakers. The contract and payments schedule for the next stages of the work of the design team needs to be finalised.

iv) The report of the meeting of the Retail Group held on 5 July has been circulated. The Board agreed

that it should now be the ‘Commercial Operations Group’ (COG). Roy has made enquiries about professional support for the recruitment of an operations/commercial manager from Bruce Tait Associates, who specialise in working with charity organisations. The group will now consider the

staffing (paid and volunteer) matrix for the new business and seek examples of structures and job descriptions from a range of organisations who have offered their advice. David Campbell & Co. have provided an estimate for the quality fitting-out of one retail unit. Currently, the cost of this is not within

the project budget.

v) Roy and Hugh met with members of the Board of West Highland College on 27 June. They remain committed to relocating in September 2019. Details of their requirements have been passed to the

architects. Hugh and Karen will continue to liaise with their officers and Graham & Sibbold will be asked to draft appropriate Heads of Agreement.


10. Date of next meeting

Owing to the holiday arrangements of staff and Board members in September, the next meeting is scheduled for 27 August starting at 7.15 pm. with the subsequent one planned for October.


There being no other business, the meeting ended at 9.35 pm













Curator's Report 30th July 2018


Building and Grounds


Flower of the West has been cutting the grass regularly and Willie Macrae has been keeping on top of the weeds.


The front door is causing problems for our volunteers as it is difficult to lock.  Could one of the buildings team have a look at it please?




Admissions were down on last year by 6% in June and on track to be approximately the same in July as they were last year.  We still hope to achieve an annual figure of around 7000, as last year.




We continue to make additions to the collection with a view to our new displays.


Inverness Townhouse have declined to lend us the original portrait of Dr John Mackenzie, however I have managed to track down the high resolution image that was taken of it for the Public Catalogue Foundation project, and we have permission to use it to create a canvas.


We have taken on loan a WWII uniform from RACP to be used in our new displays.


There is currently a small backlog of objects and a large backlog of archive material awaiting accession.  Bella Claydon has reviewed the catalogue for our photograph collection and identified where information needs to be improved.  Duncan Ross continues to input the archive catalogue to Adlib.


We have been sent a loan agreement for the Rubha Reidh lens and associated objects (appended).  Special measures have been inserted to the loan to reassure the board that the objects will not be removed from Gairloch.  The board needs to decide whether to deaccession these objects in favour of the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, and then take them back on loan according to the terms in the agreement.


Training and Networking


I attended half a day of XPO North in Inverness on 28th June and a meeting of the Highland Museums Forum, at which representatives from MGS were present.  Proposals for the change of HMF to a SCIO were discussed.




I visited National Records Scotland again in the first week of July to undertake research on the lighthouse.  I also took a taxidermy object to Glasgow for conservation and picked up a wet sample (adder) from Ullapool which has been cleaned and refilled.  I am now trying to free up time to create the content for the display areas.


I have had visits from the two companies who we are considering for the supply of racking for the store and library/archive.  After having refined our precise requirements, I am awaiting a final quote from both companies before making a decision.  Thanks to Rachael Thomas and Becky Jackson-Hunt for their assistance with this.




My funding application for roller racking for our new stores and appointing a conservator to assist with unpacking was successful.  As part of this funded project, Katie will travel to three Scottish museums to learn how they have opened up their storage activities to visitors as part of their education and outreach programmes.


I heard from AIM that they apparently did not receive our application to their Collections Care Scheme.  They were very apologetic.  I was asked to pare down the request and resubmit it as there is a chance we may benefit from some underspend before the next round of applications is considered.


We have ten places to fill for the Great Wilderness Challenge.  So far I have not been informed of anyone who wishes to fill them.


Exhibitions, events and outreach


Events are covered in the Learning and Interpretation Officer's report.


Our current exhibition by Joy Grindrod has been very well received and will no doubt be popular with visitors during the forthcoming busy part of the year.


We have two proposals for external temporary exhibitions next year and I await guidance on how the board wishes the temporary education space is to be utilised.



Karen Buchanan (Curator)





Learning and Interpretation Officer Report 30th July 2018


Events, Outreach and Activities


• We had 2 successful stalls and Margaret Beaton joining us at the Gairloch Gathering. We raised £223.88. 1 stall sold items from our shop, the other, a museum focused ‘Guess the Object’ activity. Aimed the activity at families to encourage communication and teamwork. It certainly encouraged these. It was too difficult for children to complete on their own but it was interesting to see how many of the younger participants drew on their existing knowledge to make guesses. The activity was particularly popular with our volunteers.

• We had a very enthusiastic class from Poolewe Primary (not Bualnaluib) visiting the Museum last month. They came to learn more about prehistoric people and look at some of our objects on display and in our handling collection.

• Gairloch Geowalk went really well last month. Very positive turn out and lots of positive comments from everyone who joined us even if the weather wasn’t the best.

•  House of Memories dementia awareness project is moving forward. We and several other Highland museums have been testing the first lot of content to be sent to Liverpool to upload to the app. Helen Mitchell has been going into Strathburn House regularly with the images provided by Inverness Museum and reporting back to me with feedback. The project has spiked an interest with many link workers who have also expressed an interest to help test reminiscence boxes.

• As part of the Poolewe Ceilidh Partnership, we are hosting our ceilidh on 1st August. We will have music from Alasdair MacDonald and his band Mullach. We’ve had some really lovely donations for raffle prizes from local businesses, members of the community and our volunteers. Lots of our volunteers are preparing food for the evening as well and are helping out on the night. Thanks to everyone who has supported preparations for our ceilidh.

• For Doors Open Days we have organised tours of the site on Saturday 22nd September. Myself and Roy from the Museum and Neil and Alick from Simpsons will be leading the tours. We will be releasing times and joining information when people book due to limited spaces and many people turning up without booking the tours earlier in the year.

• In the process of organising craft and traditional skill workshops, will update as this progresses.

• Keen to put on some activities with the Highlife Highland Countryside Rangers. Looking at next year to collaborate on something.

• Looking into trialling a dressing up section in our WWI temporary exhibition later this year.

• Updated the poster distribution list for our events and exhibitions.


Anything to Add


• Entering the Highland Archaeology Festival photograph competition with some of Mark’s photographs. Should be good publicity for the project.

• Met with Kevin Ginty earlier this month. He is very keen to make sure the yellow pages is doing all it can to best help those who regularly feature in the GDT, particularly when they move onto social media.


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