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

21 Jan 2019

Gairloch Hotel 7.15 pm.



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


1. Conflicts of Interest

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


2. Minutes of the Board meeting 3 December & Matters Arising

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

Matters arising:

i) It was noted that further details had had to be provided to finalise our insurance arrangements for the present situation and that more will be required once we know when we are moving into the AAOR. Karen is aware of a new Highland Museums Forum initiative for independent museums to benefit from a collective brokerage for premises insurance which we will consider once we have re-assessed the ‘value’ of our collection, including individual objects.

ii) The Radcliffe Trust has approved a third (and final) grant of nearly £5000 for conservation and

decant work.


3. Treasurer’s Report

Dugald is working on preparing the accounts for the 2018 financial year, ready to go to PLN Accounting. We are awaiting payments of monies due and have requested a further drawdown of the AHF loan to ensure the necessary cash flow. The 2018 Gift Aid claim has been paid very promptly by HMRC, who are also processing our VAT returns quickly.

It has been a marathon effort to prepare the claim to HLF, in the required format, for their contribution to payments made relating to non-building expenditure over the past 24 months.


4. Curator’s Report

Karen had circulated her Report covering: Building & grounds; Collection; Training & networking; Project: Dismantling the Fresnel lens; Progress on packing and conservation work; Exhibitions, events & outreach. Further points arising:

i) Karen had investigated the possibility of bidding at auction for a rare bound copy of several years-worth of the Gladiator magazine, produced by the Darroch family in Torridon in the 1880s and 1890s. However, the likely price is well beyond our resources. We hope that the National Library of Scotland will be successful in the auction and will then digitise the magazines for wider


ii) There are no issues arising from the recent review of our (High Life Highland) Service Delivery Agreement. The budget to be allocated next year is not yet known, another cut is anticipated and there may be extra demands on their resources from changes in the arrangements with other museums.

iii) Highland Museums Forum is continuing with its conversion to a SCIO, ‘Museums Heritage Highland’, and is reviewing its draft Business Plan.

iv) The COG Group agreed to discuss a policy for the exhibition space in the new Museum at their next meeting (22 January). A sub-group will meet with Karen to identify how to proceed for the

forthcoming visitor season.

v) We are happy that Poolewe Ceilidh Partnership have offered us 31 July, with the Broch Inspectors, for this year.


5. Request for support for the Gaelic heritage focus of a holiday accommodation project in Poolewe

The Board agreed that a letter be written.


6.  AGM 15 April 2019

i)   Karen will see if it is possible to use Gairloch High School’s Hall as usual for the AGM. Failing that, we will book Gairloch Community Hall if it is available. Katie will then confirm the arrangements with GDT.

ii)  Pauline reported that Museum memberships totalled exactly the same in 2018 as in 2017 (246). After discussion, it was agreed that the membership fee for 2019 will be £12.50 for an individual member and £25 for a family. This will retrieve the income ‘lost’ now that we are VAT registered.

iii) The 4 directors who have completed their 3-year Board membership are Alice, Willie, Marcus and Pauline. They are eligible to be nominated for re-election.


7. L&I Officer’s Report

Katie had circulated her Report covering Events, outreach & activities: winter events; volunteers; Natural History competition; Museum store fit out (‘knowledge exchange’ visits).

Further points arising:

i) The quiz on 18 January was the most successful yet with 21 teams entered and more than £800 raised for the ‘community fund-raising’ pot.

ii) The ‘Sitooterie’ has offered the Museum a dedicated garden space. Suggestions were made as to outdoor objects which could be sited there. Katie will speak to some of our volunteers who might be interested to help with this.


8. Museum development: updates & way forward

i) Roy updated the meeting about progress on building work at the AAOR. Substantial completion is promised for 4 March, though it should be possible to work on installation of the lighthouse lens and on the croft house roof in February.

ii) David Campbell and design team members met with Karen, Roy and Mia on 11 January to consider installation of the collection, which will take up to three months. They also discussed the programme, stage payments and documentation for materials to be included in stage payments.

iii) At the meeting on 17 December, the Interpretation Group ‘signed off’ the first sets of material to send to the design team. We have yet to receive their feedback. A further meeting was held on 17 January to progress three other display areas.

iv) We were not selected to be one of the eight projects to continue to Stage 2 of the William Grant Foundation “Step Change” Fund but have been awarded £250 for our effort. At short notice, Pauline submitted an application to the Bank of Scotland for some aspects of the desired external landscaping/interpretation to meet their 3 January deadline.

Roy will speak to our HIE Adviser to discuss possibilities of ‘match-funding’ for a bid requesting further support from HIE to help towards ‘fitting out’ costs for the café and retail unit. Café tenants, once identified, could possibly pursue ‘set-up’ support from organisations such as Business Gateway. However, other funding opportunities will need to be explored. The SNH ‘Cultural Heritage’ Fund, just launched, needs considerable match-funding and our current needs probably do not match their criteria closely enough.

v) Notes from the meeting of the Commercial Operations Group (COG), held on 12 December, have been circulated. Now that the likely opening date is being firmed up, Roy will discuss the schedule of advertising and recruitment once again with Bruce Tait Associates. Members of the COG group have offered to be on the selection panel, together with a representative of BTA.

Expressions of interest in both the café and retail unit are being followed up. It is considered critical that we have tenants in place for both when we open.

vi) The Board accepted the recommendations of the Publications Group that the new logo would be used from now on for any advertising material related to the new Museum, and from the AGM for all administrative purposes.

vii) After discussion, it was agreed that admission charges to the new Museum would be £5 adult and £2 child.

viii) A useful meeting was held with members of the GALE Board on 17 January at which matters of mutual interest were raised. Pauline will circulate the record of the discussions with these Minutes.

ix) In consultation with David Campbell, a decision has been made as to the most appropriate design for the Museum signage on the front wall of the AAOR using a single black back-board, rather than individual letters.


9. Any Other Business

i)  Katie is developing outlines for the roles for volunteers within the new operating structure. At the annual lunch in November it was emphasised that they will continue to have an important role supporting the new Museum.

ii) Irene is working on selecting retail items which can be ‘branded’. She was advised to contact Jim about the logo to be used.

iii) Hugh will progress discussion with West Highland College with respect to issues such as facilities’ use and rental.

iv) Hugh will view the slab of prehistoric wood that has been offered and consider whether it might be used in the new Museum.

v) Officers will meet on 22 January to consider the Curator’s salary and holiday entitlement. The decisions made will be backdated to 1 January.


10. Date of next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 4 March 2019.


There being no other business, the meeting ended at 9.05 pm.



















Curator's Report 21st Jan 2019



Building and Grounds


Nothing new to report.




I managed to resolve the majority of the accession backlog for objects over the Christmas period.  However, the archive backlog continues to grow.


The only new objects that have been accessioned since the last meeting have been specifically collected for new displays.


A volume of The Gladiator is being sold at auction by Lyon and Turnbull and it is likely that National Library of Scotland will purchase this, though we could place a bid on it ourselves.  I will provide more detail at the meeting.


Training and Networking


My final marks for the modules I took this semester are:

Land and People: The Scottish Highlands 1700-2000 – 76%

An Introduction to Gaelic Poetry – 81%


I have suspended my studies until September.


I attended a workshop organised by HMF on working with the travel trade (coach companies and the cruise industry).




Exhibition design progress:

We have slipped a little with the delivery of content due to other pressures.  To date content for eight of the display areas has been delivered and a further six need to be delivered by the end of February. To date, we have not received any proofs of the display panels from Campbell & Co. The interpretation team will meet again on 8th Feb to agree the next set of content to be delivered to the design team.


Dismantling and reinstalling the Fresnel lens:


Simpsons of Beauly have removed the brackets which support the annular ring on which the lens sits.  These will be cleaned, painted and then cast into the floor of the new building.  A rough timescale of mid-late Feb for reassembling the lens has been suggested.  Peter Fleming will make himself available.


Progress on packing and conservation work


During the Christmas holidays Rachael and I dismantled the roof of the crofthouse, removing and treating the thatch with a conservation grade insecticide.  We also treated the Preacher’s Ark and the panelling from the shop.  There are a few small boxes in the textile store which need to be checked over and prepared for moving.  Anne and Fran are working on this.  Aside from this we are ready to start moving as soon as soon as the contractor has left the site.  We also need to pack the archive and library.  I would plan to do this after the objects have been unpacked, so that we can reuse the removal boxes that have been purchased.


Exhibitions, events and outreach


I had hoped to have some guidance by now from the COG team on how the new exhibition space will be used.  I do not see any discussion of this in the minutes of their last meeting.



Karen Buchanan (Curator)







Learning and Interpretation Officer Report 21st Jan 2019


Events, Outreach and Activities


Winter events


• Badachro Pub Quiz/ 14th December

• 12 teams joined us for the evening.

• We raised £516 from team entry, the raffle and gin raffle. This means our total raised after 2 quizzes is £1163.20.

• Our next quiz (after Friday 18th Jan) is 15th February. The location will change from Aultbea Hotel to the Gairloch Hotel. Any donations for the raffle and/or the whisky/gin raffle would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

• Winter Lecture

• Our next Winter Lecture is by John Wood.

• John’s talk ‘What is ‘preservation’ anyway? will explore how museums decide what to collect and what to get rid of and why we preserve things, using examples from the Highlands.



• One of our volunteers from the High School, Ruaraidh Alexander is currently translating a Gaelic piece for use in our 3 Wars Gallery to support our display on the William H Welch disaster.

• Will be working with 6 volunteers to record audio files that will feature on either a listening post or audio visual screen in our 3 Wars Gallery.


Natural History competition

• We are currently running a competition for local people and visitors to send in photos and videos of Gairloch’s species and habitats. The top 3 entries, to be selected at the beginning of February, will go on the touch table in the Natural World gallery.



Anything to Add


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 have been on ‘knowledge exchange’ visits to Scottish museums with a view to introducing visitor engagement activities in our ‘behind the scene’ areas. Visited the Glasgow Museum Resources Centre on 15th January. Enjoyed touring their facilities – they do huge amounts of public engagement and support local schools and adult groups. Great opportunity to learn from them.


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