Highland museums win Lottery cash to secure future

Bettyhill Museum. Picture: Contributed
Bettyhill Museum. Picture: Contributed
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THE Highland Museums Forum has received £54,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project to help secure the future of museums throughout the region.

The project, entitled “Our Collective Future”, will be led by a new partnership of 18 independent museums, which have suffered from recent, drastic funding cuts by Highland Council.

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The 18-month project aims to increase sustainability and capitalise on collective strengths and skills to build capacity for curatorial and management activities and future fund-raising.

Each museum in the partnership will benefit from an individual business review and fund-raising advice.

A range of training opportunities will be available for museums staff and volunteers.

Museums will work together, sharing skills and knowledge and creating even better experiences for visitors and more opportunities for local people to become involved.

The project, which has also received funding from Museums Galleries Scotland of £35,000, is now underway and is due to complete by October 2018.

The 18 independent museums cover the whole of the Highlands from Mallaig to Bettyhill and from the Black Isle to Gairloch.

Their extensive collections tell a patchwork of stories from earliest times to the present day, including the Picts, fishing, crofting, fossils and the Highland Clearances.

Alison Boyle, chair of HMF, said this heritage is in danger of being lost due to increasing shortfalls in funding.

She added: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will secure an exciting and resilient future for independent museums in the Highlands.”

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With the support of business advisers, fund-raisers, and development training the independent museums will have the tools and financial backing to look to a Collective Future with optimism.