While the doors to the Hoy Heritage Centre remain closed the Friends of Hoy Kirk, who manage the centre at Hoy Kirk, have been busy behind the scenes making sure that there is a warm welcome online.
Link: Hoy Heritage Centre
Being an unstaffed, open-all-hours venue presents particular challenges for compliance with COVID-19 guidance and it is unclear when the Hoy Heritage Centre might be able to open this season.
RebeccaMarr, Hoy Heritage officer, said:
‘Sharing content online and thinking of the website as an exhibition space in itself is one way of keeping our ‘doors open.
‘Like everyone we have had to adapt and make sure that we can still offer something valuable. This imposed period of closure has given us the opportunity to redesign our website and reflect on how best we can bring the wealth of material held at the centre to a wider audience.
‘There are so many gems in the archive gathered by the community and we are fortunate to have the support of creative and academic contributors who generously share their material with us’.
The overarching themes of social history, natural history and places allow virtual visitors to navigate through the many layers of the heritage of Hoy from sea eagles to Stevie’s boat, folklore to flowers, and the Hoy Express to shipwrecks. There are films, sound recordings and downloadable files on archaeology and Pearl Sinclair’s popular book ‘A Photographic Census of Hoy’.
Commenting on the side range of topics covered on the website ,Jeff Clark, Chair of the Friends of Hoy Kirk, said:
‘There is something for everyone on the site, the cultural buzz around Rackwick at the time of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies makes an interesting read and the ongoing fascination with the Old Man of Hoy is covered in detail. Having run the Rackwick Weather Station with my wife Avril for years I am delighted that this part of Hoy history is recorded.’
Committee members Marion & Iain Talbot think that the website will be a space for the many worldwide visitors who have come to the Hoy Kirk to be able to return virtually. They said:
‘We are encouraged by the comments in the visitors book and the many countries people come from. The website will help us maintain that global reach and keep people connected with Hoy and its many remarkable stories.’
‘We are going to keep loading up new material on the website so that there is always something new to come back and discover. We hope that the website will offer a flavour of the warm welcome we have become known for at Hoy Heritage Centre and we look forward to opening the doors again when we can.’
The website can be found at www.hoyheritage.co.uk and visitors can sign up for updates.