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Strathnaver Museum needs your support to secure vital funding

Strathnaver Museum which tells the story of north west Sutherland and Clan Mackay is calling for the support of the local community to help win funding as part of the Aviva Community Fund 2017.

Strathnaver Museum is relying on votes to increase their chances of winning funding of up to £21,808 in the Community Support category which they hope will support their ambitious redevelopment plans. Only projects with the most votes will become finalists, so additional support is vital.

Strathnaver Museum opened in 1976 because of a dedicated group of local people who recognised the importance of the local heritage and the need to preserve it. Since its inception the museum has run numerous innovative community outreach projects and events, involving local people and groups of all ages.

To secure the future of its historically important B listed building Strathnaver Museum want to make improvements to meet accreditation and industry best practice. Coupled with this is the desire to improve the visitor experience by freeing up space to improve interpretation, engage more effectively with children and young people, and provide better access to the collection and archive for everyone.

The redevelopment of the museum into a heritage hub will allow more visitors, a retail space, additional services, more events and activities, and deliver additional training opportunities while continuing to protect, preserve and interpret the important collection. Ultimately, the project will make the Strathnaver Museum more resilient and ensure its future sustainability in the face of reductions in public funding.

Past projects led by Strathnaver Museum have included partnership working with other community groups such as the traditional youth music group, Fèis air an Oir. In 2015 they secured funding of £27,000 as part of the WWI Commemoration project Pibrochs and Poppies. The young people from the Fèis learned tunes composed by WWI piper Willie ‘Druids’ Macdonald of Melness and latterly Lairg. The youngster then took the music all over Caithness and Sutherland playing at ceilidh’s, Highland Games, music festivals as well as visiting older people’s groups and residential homes.

In 2017 Strathnaver Museum and Mackay Country Community Trust attracted £56,940 of funding to explore the life and work of Gaelic bard Rob Donn Mackay in an 18-month community project. A contemporary of Robert Burns, Rob Donn, is an extremely important figure in the history of Gaelic literature giving a valuable commentary on 18th century life. He lived through a chaotic period in Highland history as the Jacobite Risings resulted in lasting changes throughout the Highlands.

Strathnaver Museum supports the local economy through tourism development and is one of the few wet weather activities in north west Sutherland. The increasing popularity of the NC500 route means the presence of Strathnaver Museum as part of the infrastructure is increasingly important.

Fiona Mackenzie, Development Manager from Strathnaver Museum says: “For over 40 years the dedicated team of volunteers at Strathnaver Museum have amassed a significant collection that is important to people locally and throughout the world. The historically important B listed building that houses this collection is at the heart of the history of the Clearances. The time has come to recognise this significance and work towards a world class presentation of our people’s story. If you want to help bring this vision to reality all you need to do is take a couple of minutes to vote for Strathnaver Museum in the Aviva Community Fund.”

To get behind Strathnaver Museum and help make a difference in your local community, visit https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-2025 and submit your vote by 21st November 2017.

For more information on Strathnaver Museum, visit www.strathnavermuseum.org.uk.