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Construction contract awarded to local firm O’Brien Construction Ltd

Following a competitive tender process Strathnaver Museum are delighted to announce that O’Brien Construction Ltd have been successful in bidding for the contract for the refurbishment project.

The work will include essential conservation work to the regionally important B listed historic building, the creation of an annex to the rear of Clachan Graveyard which will house agricultural exhibits and improvements to the internal layout of the existing building.

Strathnaver Museum is a popular visitor attraction on the North Coast 500 which delivers museum services to the local community and welcomes over 6,000 visitors every year. The museum has run a number of innovative community curated research projects over the years which has added valuable information to their extensive archive.

Located in the former Church of Columba at Bettyhill the site has a long association with the Highland Clearances as it was from the pulpit, that still dominates the main room, that eviction notices were read to the congregation. Later in 1883 crofters and cottars gathered to give evidence to the Napier Commission which led to the Crofters Holdings (Scotland) Act 1886 which granted crofters security of tenure.

Strathnaver Museum will be closed while the works are ongoing and the group plan to reopen the existing building and new annex in early 2023. During the closure the group will have a temporary office and exhibition space in Naver Telecentre, Bettyhill as well as pop up exhibitions and events at venues across north west Sutherland. An information service and gift shop will be operational from the end of May at the Bettyhill Tourist Information Centre beside Clachan Café.

Fiona Mackenzie, Project Manager said: “We are delighted to have appointed O’Brien Construction to this important project which will see much needed improvements to the building which will improve the visitor experience. The work will make the building more accessible and increase the space we have for exhibitions, as well as supporting our sustainability.”