We are in the process of producing a redevelopment leaflet that will give information about the project and ask for support. We plan to get about 2,000 of these printed (at a cost of around £140) and post one through every door in the parish. They will also be handed out with the admission ticket on entry to the museum and given out at the Gairloch Gathering (see events).
Visitor surveys have been left out on the desk in the reading area for visitors who choose to fill them in. This is a trial, partly to see whether it works, partly because there is no room on the desk for a large box for responses! In the three weeks it has been out we have received 21 completed forms, 18 of which were filled in by women.
A group of adults with learning difficulties visited the museum on Wednesday 13 May as part of their digital photography class. Their remit was to take photographs of the items that most interested them. The aim was to find out what in the museum appealed to that audience. Preliminary results of the non-participatory observation conducted by RG showed that the most time was spent with exhibits such as the stuffed animals (to which students returned multiple times) and the lighthouse. Although not an accessibility survey, the difficulty of manoeuvring a wheelchair up the ramp was very obvious. There seems to be no obvious solution to this.
Our Duke of Edinburgh student will be conducting some informal surveys over the coming weeks with locals (mainly) to discover why they do / do not visit the museum and, if they don’t visit, what might bring them in.
The new reminiscence / handling box is nearly ready. RG has spoken to Hazel Fraser at Strathburn who expressed an interest in borrowing it, as did Sarah Wright who teaches a WHC class on Wednesdays. The next step is to publicise to the local schools.
Events – Gairloch Gathering
Our intention is to use this event to showcase to the community some of the work of GHM. We have applied to have a gazebo outside the main arena with various volunteers on shifts throughout the day demonstrating traditional skills. We need as many people as possible available at different times throughout the day, handing out leaflets, talking about our future plans and generally raising our profile. More info to follow (agenda item AOB).
Oral history training has been organised for Friday 12 June with Sue Morrison of the University of Strathclyde. Invitations to attend have been sent to volunteers, members and staff of Ullapool Museum and Applecross Heritage Centre. Currently 15 people have registered an interest. So far no-one has come forward to offer memories as a result of the article in the G&DT. Please let RG know if you know of anyone who might be a suitable subject for interview.
RG has been in contact with the Royal Observer Corps heritage group re Cold War memories in Gairloch. One lady who served at Kyle has responded with helpful information that is being followed up. Contact has also been made with a couple of people on Shetland who can provide information about the Cold War in the north of Scotland.
Bruce Hudson has offered to donate us the nosecone of the Canberra for use in our new displays. (Specifically, it’s an English Electric Canberra B Mk. 2 Ser. No. WJ721 built in 1952, initially as a conventional fast jet bomber, but was also adapted as a nuclear bomber). I don’t think this plane has a Gairloch link, so we would not be taking it into our collection, but if our Three Wars gallery was big enough it would be a lot of fun to have an object this big that visitors could actually climb inside. Are we interested?
Benchmarking visits have been made to Blackwatch Museum (RG only – to assess interpretation, view the Archive and talk to staff about their redevelopment), Highland Folk Museum (KT, RG and RT – to view the conservation lab and stores and assess interpretation) and the Highlanders Museum at Fort George (KT, RG and RT – interpretation only). Contact RG for reports if required. Plans are being made for the 2/3 main benchmarking visits that form part of the Project Curator budget. RG and PB are looking into Shetland as a possible destination for one visit. RG has been in contact with Chris Dyer, who worked on the HLF-funded project at Sumburgh Head which includes a converted radar station (WWII) and lighthouse. If the trip goes ahead, it will also include visits to a converted C19 crofthouse and the Shetland Museum and Archive.
KT and RG are looking into the possibility of visiting the Seallam Centre on Harris and Museum Nan Eilean on Lewis for another benchmarking trip. The latter is due to reopen this summer after a large-scale redevelopment project.
Rosalyn Goulding (Project Curator)
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