For over two years I was lucky enough to be based in the Scottish Highlands, working for a very small, eclectic museum. Although at times it was challenging (and bizarre), there is no doubt that the Highlands is brimming with unique culture, collections, and quirky heritage organisations.
This post aims to highlight the diverse, and sometimes obscure, museums that can be found hidden in the Scottish Highlands.
The Glencoe Folk Museum is situated in the heart of Glencoe, just off of the A82. Although small, the museum is perfectly formed with a weird and wonderful collection. The museum is made up of two small buildings, said to date from the 18th century, with a newly thatched heather roof.
Very much a ‘local’ affair, the collection consists of bits & bobs including Jacobite memorabilia, the Dr. Grant collection and tools from the Ballachulish slate quarry, all of which were collected from the local community by Barbra Fairweather MBE and Mrs Rae Grant. For both women the museum was a labour of love, and the spent their time tirelessly campaigning to improve and preserve the highland way of life! If you’re lucky enough to visit, you may see Ms. Rae Grant (now in her 80’s) manning the admission desk and telling visitors all the local stories and folklore!
Find out more at http://www.glencoemuseum.com
The award winning Highland Folk Museum based in Newtonmore, within a stone’s throw of the Cairngorms National Park, was established by Isobel F.Grant in 1944. Originally inspired by the Scandinavian open air museum movement, Dr.Grant opened her first museum on the Island of Iona in 1935. However by 1939 Dr. Grant’s collection had outgrown its Iona home and she temporarily had to relocate the collection to a church in Laggan. Seeking a new home for her collection and seeing the potential a site in Kingussie, Dr. Grant bought a patch of land (3 acres and Pitmain Lodge) in 1943, opening what we know as The Highland Folk Museum on the 1st of June 1944.
The collections housed within the museum mainly reflect the social and rural life of the Scottish Highlands, using interactive and fun techniques such as storytellers, characters in period dress and a working farm.
Buildings on the 32hectre land include a reconstructed blackhouse situated in the ‘township’, a smoke house, a tin cottage, a Railway Halt and a 1930’s shinty pavilion.
To find out more go to http://www.highlandfolk.com/newtonmore.php