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Strathnaver Museum secures National Lottery support

Strathnaver Museum, in Sutherland, has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £650,000 for their exciting refurbishment project. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will safeguard the condition of the historic building, improve the visitor experience and secure the future of the collection in the area in which it was collected.

Supported through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will also explore the impact of the Highland Clearances through a series of creative community research projects. An extensive three-year activity programme will provide opportunities for everyone to get involved in exploring the local heritage through arts and crafts, traditional skills, language and Gaelic culture.

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.

Commenting on the award Fiona Mackenzie, Project Manager said: “We are delighted to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players which will enable us to save our important historic building and the collection it contains for future generations. We have an extensive programme of activities planned over the next 3 years which will help us to learn more about our collection and gather stories from descendants of those removed to be added to our archive for everyone to access.”

To date Strathnaver Museum have secured £1.7 million of the £2.1 million funding required to secure the building, create a new agricultural annex building, install new interpretation across the site and deliver a packed activity programme. The group are awaiting the outcome of a number of final funding applications and have launched a Crowdfunder to help meet an anticipated £30,000 funding gap.

The team are offering some exclusive rewards as part of their Crowdfunder including money off vouchers, behind the scenes tours and the chance to have your name displayed in the refurbished museum. You can contribute to the Crowdfunder here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/refurbishment-of-strathnaver-museum