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

03 Dec 2018

Gairloch Hotel 7.15 pm.



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



Karen Buchanan; Liz Forrest; Hugh Macintyre; Dugald Macpherson.


1. Conflicts of Interest

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


2. Minutes of the Board meeting 15 October & Matters Arising

These were agreed to be a correct record, proposed by Allan and seconded by Irene.

Matters arising:

i) The Radcliffe Trust were considering our funding application in late November.

ii) The volunteers’ lunch, held on 23 November, was, once again, a very pleasant occasion.

iii) The AGM will be held on 15 April with James (Jim) Miller speaking on Scapa Flow.

iv) Katie has followed up Dugald’s recommendation to enquire what printing can be offered by the charity, For the Right Reasons, in Inverness. The Publications Group will consider the matter further at its meeting on 6 December.

v) Board meetings will continue to be held in the comfort of Gairloch Hotel until we have our own facilities.

vi) Roy, Irene and Pauline will represent GDHC at the proposed meeting with GALE directors. Pauline will write to Janet Miles offering possible dates in the second half of January.


3. Treasurer’s Report

In Dugald’s absence, Roy indicated that, thanks to various grant payments having been received, an advance from Highland Council, VAT repayments and the loan now being available from AHF, that, for the time being, we are in a position to pay the substantial invoices coming in.


4. Curator’s Report

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

i) Our slight decline in visitor numbers mirrors that of other museums and attractions across the Highlands. Could it be that driving the NC500 is deterring longer stays?

ii) Discussion took place on the business ‘history’ of Wester Ross Bicycles and on the potential of a future exhibition or research based on other such enterprises, such as the Inverasdale tractor company, Kerrysdale Gold, dewatering (Gairloch Quarry) and Melvaig Pottery.

iii) Marcus invited inspection of two large pieces of equipment (a winch and a drill) which may be

of interest.

iv) The policy for the use of exhibition space in the new Museum will be added to the COG agenda.


5. Disposal of Collection Objects

The Board endorsed the disposal of those objects listed in the Curator’s Report and the deaccessioning of others to the handling collection. There is no urgency to dispose of the boats.


6. World War I Centenary Project update

i) In November, Katie worked with the schools in Kinlochewe and Shieldaig, and Pauline with youngsters of Bualnaluib and Poolewe in joint sessions, on aspects of the First World War, then accompanied the pupils on worthwhile excursions to Fort George.

ii) The ‘Heroes’ database and associated image and documents have been available online, via our website’s Library and Research tab, since early September. The posters for, and booklets accompanying, the exhibition, A Land Fit for Heroes?, will be added. Inverasdale Heritage Group are very interested to have the exhibition on display in their centre next year. As Katie noted in her L&I Officer’s Report, the displays have impressed the Scottish Local History Forum.

iii) The Armistice commemoration event on 14 November went very well. Bob Shanks’ talk was well received. The readings & music worked as a sequence and the authentic refreshments were appreciated!

iv) Pauline awaits confirmation from Inverewe as to the final details for the ‘Peace Stone’ phase of the project in early summer 2019: themed planting, willow sculptures and interpretive posters in Mairi’s potting shed are being explored. Project report and financial details have to be submitted to HLF by August next year.


7. L&I Officer’s Report

Katie had circulated her Report covering Events, outreach & activities: winter programme and working with schools; roles for volunteers in the new Museum; Poolewe Ceilidh Partnership; winter sales; eHive; Museum store fit out (visits to other museums to review ‘behind the scenes’ visitor engagement activities); Feedback from WWI exhibition and content.


8. Museum development: updates & way forward

i) Roy had circulated a summary, updating progress on building work. After the site meeting on 4 December, we will have a firmer idea of when this will be completed. Campbell & Co. can then begin their installations. Delays will have significant knock-on cost implications, both for income generation and, possibly, for claiming time-limited funding offers.

ii) Details were provided of the current cash flow situation, including grants drawdown & loan arrangements.

iii) There was only a very short time-scale to submit an application to the ‘one-off’ William Grant Foundation “Step Change” Fund. We have requested support for external landscaping, interpretation and signposting, all being additional to the funded project. We will be informed in mid-December if we are one of the 10-12 (of 50+) invited to the next submission stage and will delay our new funding request to HIE until we know this decision.

iv) Roy has been able to confirm that our insurance policy covers the requirements for both sites that we currently occupy.

v) The Curator’s Report covers the expectations for, and progress on, the Exhibition design process. Rosalyn is now engaged to help ensure the consistency of panel and object texts. At a meeting scheduled for 17 December, members of the Interpretation Group hope to ‘sign off’ the first sets of material to send to the design team.

vi) Dismantling of the Fresnel lens and removal of the base proved to be a lengthy and complex undertaking, now successfully completed. All who were involved were commended for their efforts. Volunteers have come forward to deal with the conservation work which has been advised on some metal parts.

vii) Karen has detailed the progress on conservation and packing work in her Report. Rachael’s commitment and expertise has been invaluable in ensuring the efficiency of the operations.

viii) Notes from the meeting of the Commercial Operations Group (COG), held on 23 October, have been circulated. It was agreed that Roy should give Bruce Tait Associates the go-ahead to advertise for an Operations Manager before Christmas, with the appointee taking up post, ideally, early in April. The next COG meeting is scheduled for 12 December.

ix) A ‘soft’ opening of the new Gairloch Museum will take place as soon as possible in late Spring. The ‘official’ opening will be arranged to suit our preferred V.I.P. but seems likely to be either in July or September. It is understood that John English is on target to complete his films within the time-scale required.


9. Any Other Business

We will need to confirm the 2019-20 membership fees at our next Board meeting.


10. Date of next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 21 January 2019.


There being no other business, the meeting ended at 8.55 pm.



















Curator's Report 3rd Dec 2018



Building and Grounds


Nothing new to report.




Our visitor numbers this year were 6470, which was down 6% on last year, presumably due to the great weather at the start of the season.




There is still something of a backlog of objects awaiting accession.


As a result of the decant, I have disposed of a number of objects which were either not integral to the collection or in very poor condition, (or both), and should probably never have been accessioned. Details are as follows:


Deaccessioned and disposed of:


1619  Dress on mannequin

695.1  Mannequin

695.2  Mannequin

214   Framed Picture

1621  Shawl on mannequin

1624  Shawl on mannequin

676   Mannequin


Deaccessioned to HD numbers:


1620  Apron on mannequin

1614  Buchanan tartan blanket

1618  Woollen shawl on mannequin

1617  Cotton mutch


One mannequin still in reasonable condition was disposed of to the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum. The Inverasdale Heritage Group took five of our museum cases for their displays.

The salmon coble was offered to the Inverasdale Heritage Group. They inspected it and concluded that it would not be possible to move it without it disintegrating. They have therefore declined the offer.


We have been offered a Wester Ross bicycle for our collection, which I viewed when I was in Edinburgh recently. It will be delivered to the new building, once we have moved.


Training and Networking


I received grades of 71% and 76% respectively for assignments in the history and Gaelic poetry modules I am currently taking. I have another assignment to submit and an exam on 14th December.


Jim Buchanan attended a training session in Google Analytics organised by Visit Wester Ross on behalf of the museum.




Exhibition design progress

We are on target with the programme for content delivery with the exception of one area, to which changes are to be made and which will be moved to the second tranche of content to be delivered in the new year. The interpretation team will meet on 17th December to agree the final version of panel and label text that will be sent to Campbell & Co. C&Co. will get sample panels done and will look over with us in late January. By the end of January C&Co need the final graphics for this first batch of panels and will send us final proofs once they have received these.


I had a long meeting with Campbell & Co. on 27th November and will circulate details and actions to the interpretation team when I have written them up.


Dismantling and reinstalling the Fresnel lens

The lens has been dismantled and moved to various locations within the building for storage.  The metal trimming table has now been removed following a third visit by Peter Fleming and only the cast iron walkway remains to be extracted. I met with Peter Fleming whilst I was in Edinburgh. He has provided drawings to assist the contractors in installing the trimming table in the correct position to receive the lens. He also provided me with stamps with which to mark the base.


I have been in discussion with the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses about conservation/ restoration work on the lens and associated parts as part of its reinstallation. They have now provided advice on what they would be willing to permit, which broadly conforms to our thoughts on what work we would like to undertake. Decisions need to be taken on the colour that we will paint the metal parts (the current grey or original Brunswick green) and the extent to which we polish up the brasswork for the opening. The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses seem happy for us to make these decisions. I have been given advice by the Northern Lighthouse Board on how to obtain the Brunswick green paint, should we choose to go down that route.


Progress on packing and conservation work

With the help of Rachael Thomas and a small group of volunteers, we have now dismantled and packed everything that can be packed ready for the move.


We have so far packed 125 Removal Boxes.

Within these there are 1179 objects.

135 larger objects have been wrapped and prepped for moving.

There are 66 framed items wrapped and ready to move.

13 custom Correx boxes have been made for fragile or awkwardly shaped objects.


There are now boxes ready for removal in the museum stores and display areas. The location of all of these boxes and the objects in them has been carefully documented so they must not be moved without the permission of the curator.


During the Christmas holidays, when Rachael will be back in Gairloch, we intend to treat some of the wood panelling from the shop and the thatching and chimney from the crofthouse with a conservation tested insecticide before they go back on display.


Exhibitions, events and outreach


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


We have had expressions of interest from several exhibitors for next year, and I would welcome guidance from the COG team on how the new exhibition space will be used.


Karen Buchanan (Curator)





Learning and Interpretation Officer Report 3rd Dec 2018


Events, Outreach and Activities


Winter events


Sit, Chat & Spin/ 17th October

• Afternoon event in GALE. 25 people joined us. Variety of ages, both male and female. 15 people spun with Mrs Beaton. Most were in GALE and joined in, 8 people came for the event.

•  Offered crafty activities (making wool flowers and cardboard fluffy sheep) in addition to the spinning.

• Lovely feedback from GALE staff.

• Margaret is interested in holding more spinning/wool related activities when we move.


Creative Crafting/25th October

• Taster crafting event.

• 7 ladies joined us and we received some great feedback from them.

• We made £44

• Fran is keen to hold a series of crafting events in the future.


100 Years On/14th November

• 47 people joined us for the evening.

• We made £33.80

• Evening filled with lots of local talent and an interesting talk from Highlanders’ Museum volunteer Bob Shanks. He’s offered assistance with future museum events and any work with the local schools.


Shieling Pub Quiz/ 9th November

• 16 teams joined us for the evening.

• We raised £647.20 from team entry, the raffle and whisky raffle.

• Our next quiz is 14th December at the Badachro Inn. Any donations for the raffle and/or the whisky/gin raffle would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


• Winter Lecture (Simon Green from Historic Environment Scotland)

• 39 people came along for the talk.

• We raised £162.50

• HES Risk Register and GM looking to hold events in the future.

• Next winter lecture is Tuesday 29th Jan. John Wood will be our speaker.




• 14th November - Workshop and Careers Fair at Gairloch High School


• 28th November – Careers morning at Gairloch Primary School.


• Met with Stuart Caddell at the beginning of November to discuss volunteering opportunities for pupils in the Museum. See document regarding the Partnership. We have 4 students keen to volunteer with us already. Current opportunities involve students assisting us with content for the Wars gallery. Meeting with a pupil next week.


• Planned, organised and ran a days’ worth of activities with Shieldaig and Kinlochewe Primary Schools during the week commencing 5th November to assist with their learning about remembrance and the armistice (as part of our WW1 HLF funded project). Prepared art-focussed activities, handling sessions and took the students on a joint trip to Fort George.




• Creating volunteer role profiles. Intend to offer some exciting new opportunities for our existing volunteers and hope to interest new people.


Poolewe Ceilidh Partnership


• Attended a meeting with the partnership hosts on 29th October to reflect on the season. There will be a follow-up meeting in the New Year to develop plans for the next season to ensure the continuation of the partnership.


Anything to Add


Winter sales

• In addition to selling our calendars, we have been promoting and selling our mugs and bags with the existing museum logo on them. November sales of £347.00. Note - this figure including calendar sales does not include sales from local shops.



• 7th November – attended a training session at the Highland Folk Museum on eHive. Very useful.


Museum Store Fit Out

• With a portion of the funds from Museums Galleries Scotland to fit out our artefact store, library and archive and make the spaces accessible to the public, I will be going on ‘knowledge exchange’ visits to Scottish museums with a view to introducing visitor engagement activities in our ‘behind the scene’ areas. Visited Highland Folk Museum on 16th October. Enjoyed touring their collection store and had a beneficial discussion with one of their collection curators. Will be visiting Glasgow Resource Centre on 15/01/19. Waiting on a response from Paisley.


Feedback from WW1 exhibition and content

• We were visited by a Trustee of the Scottish Local History Forum who was extremely impressed with the content of the exhibition and asked to present the research at The Scottish Local History Forum Conference in Perth. He’s since been in touch to say it was very well received. He wanted to pass on his thanks to everyone who put the work together and wishes his best for our museum development.


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