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Strathnaver Museum receives funding boost for archaeological dig

Strathnaver Museum has received additional funding to help the organisation realise its vision to create a world class visitor attraction on the north Sutherland coast after securing £41,178 from Museum Galleries Scotland’s Recovery and Resilience Fund.

As well as supporting the future aspirations and recovery of the popular visitor attraction the funding will help cover operational costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. This award follows a grant of £113,157 in January from the first round of the Fund.

The funding already granted enabled Strathnaver Museum to undertake crucial survey work to progress plans for the refurbishment and repair of Strathnaver Museum. The development project will make much needed repairs, improve access to the site and its collection, create additional spaces for community projects and help the Trust to improve its sustainability.

Project Manager, Fiona Mackenzie said “The award from MGS enabled us to take a significant leap forward in our refurbishment project. The funding allowed us to undertake key surveys on our historic building and site, submit our Building Warrant application and firm up costs.

Since January a lot of activity has been going on behind the scenes as we carefully recorded and packed away the collection ready for physical work to begin on site. All being well with securing the remaining funding we aim to be in a position to begin work in late summer”.

During the archaeological survey work the team found some evidence of Iron Age activity which has warranted further investigation. The second round of MGS funding will help towards the costs of a more detailed archaeological survey due to begin in June.

Strathnaver Museum Chair, Tommy Mackay said “It’s believed the site has been an ecclesiastical centre for over a thousand years and we are looking forward to seeing what the archaeological dig might uncover. It is hoped it will further our knowledge and understanding of the site and perhaps we might even uncover some new objects to add to the collection”.

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland said:

“We are pleased to further support Strathnaver Museum in their refurbishment project. It is fantastic to see this ambitious project already well underway and the evidence of Iron Age activity in the recent archaeological survey highlights the importance of developing access to this historic site for the local area and visitors. We are delighted to be part of the museum’s journey to become a hub for regional heritage and look forward to the project developments over the next few years.”

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.

Strathnaver Museum have secured £1.66 million of the £2.08 million capital funding costs which will secure the building, create a new agricultural annex and see new interpretation installed across the site. If you would like to contribute to Strathnaver Museum’s refurbishment appeal you can do so at


Notes to editors

About Strathnaver Museum

Strathnaver Museum is a rural history museum in Bettyhill which explores the life in the province of Strathnaver. The museum has exhibits from early history through to the modern period and stages regular events, special exhibitions and performances. The main themes explored by Strathnaver Museum are the emergence of Clan Mackay, the Highland Clearances and agricultural life.

About Museums Galleries Scotland

Museums Galleries Scotland is the National Development Body for museums and galleries in Scotland and offers strategic development support to the sector. For further information about Museums Galleries Scotland visit

The Recovery and Resilience Fund is awarded by Museums Galleries Scotland.

The Scottish Government have allocated £4 million to the Museum Recovery and Resilience Fund from the £97 million package of funding to protect Scotland’s culture and heritage sectors from the impacts of Covid-19.

The Recovery and Resilience Fund aims to secure the future of Scottish independent museums put at risk by the pandemic and to protect the vital role that they play in their communities.