Strathnaver Museum Needs Some Help!

By Bernie Bell

A few years ago, Mike and I visited Strathnaver museum when on holiday and passing through that area……

…and loved it – and I don’t use that word lightly!   We were going to have a holiday in Skye last April, and walk the Strathnaver valley on our journey there. The holiday had to be cancelled due to You Know What – we’re hoping for…… maybe next Autumn?


The area has such a weight of sadness over it, I wasn’t sure if I’d want to walk the valley much, then I thought that the thing to do with places with sadness in them, is to take good times and enjoyment there, so, that’s what we hope to do, on our next holiday on the way to Skye.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago, when I came across this……..  We donated, and I emailed the museum, saying that I hope that they don’t ‘improve’ it too much, and that we hope to visit again before too long.

I feel the same about the Kilmartin Glen Museum – it seemed just right, as it was.  I can see that maintenance is needed for old buildings – but I do hope it doesn’t become like many museums now – glorified inter-active video games.

We have the wonderful Tankerness House Museum and Stromness Museum here in Orkney, and, thank goodness, they are maintained very well, but not ‘modernized’ too much. And many, many visitors say that that is exactly what they like about them.

I had a very fulsome reply from June MacKay ( it’s MacKay country!) at the Museum, telling me that the fabric of the building needs attention and a heating system would be very welcome!  They won’t be going all interactive, but with a planned annexe they will be moving some of the large exhibits such as the boat and farm implements out of the main area.  This will give more space to properly showcase what they have.  They’re planning a new Mackay Centre and research room where people can access the books and records that are all stored away at present due to lack of space.  June also sent me this link, which shows the plans, and my response was – gleeful!

I am very much reassured about the projected improvements, and it was especially good to see the aerial views of the whole area.   Something we hadn’t seen before – take a look!

One thing I particularly take to, is the idea of the new signage reflecting the style of the Farr Stone…..

Credit Bell

As mentioned  in my previous article in TON, the Farr Stone, and similar carved stones, give information –  tell a tale. The new signage, will do that too – I like the continuity of that idea.

Having seen the plans for the improvements at Strathnaver Museum, that’s exactly what they will be – improvements, with attention to continuity regarding the place, and all its history.

We’re now eager to be able to go back there, and by that time, if they can get the funding, the improvements might have been carried out, and I’ll be writing for TON again, about how even more wonder-full the whole place is to visit.

Watch this space!

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