Fort museum gets cash boost to aid recovery from Covid impact

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West Highland Museum in Fort William has been awarded £22,500 by a pandemic recovery fund to focus on community engagement and learning in Lochaber.

The museum says it will use the money from the Musuem Galleries Scotland’s Recovery Fund, to re-establish links with schools and recover visitor numbers.

Before the pandemic, the museum worked with schools but has been unable to promote its schools programme recently since long-serving education officer Betty Bruce retired in 2021.

In 2019 the museum, in Fort William’s Cameron Square, welcomed more than 60,000 visitors through its doors, but this fell to 10,000 in 2021 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and restricted opening hours.

The grant will be used to fund a community learning and engagement officer at the
museum for three days a week for ten months.

The post holder will take the lead on learning, engagement and events at the museum and be responsible for the development and planning of the programme ensuring it is creative, inclusive and reaches diverse audiences.

The post holder will help the museum reconnect with the Lochaber community post-pandemic and include the creation of education, events and outreach programmes.

Ian Peter MacDonald, chairman of the West Highland Museum, commented: ‘I am delighted that Museums and Galleries Scotland has awarded us a sum to support an education officer.

Chairman of the museum board of directors, Ian Peter MacDonald. NO F47 West Highland Museum
Chairman of the museum board of directors Ian Peter MacDonald.
NO F47 West Highland Museum

‘This support will enable us to enhance our education programme and is a great initiative for our centenary year.’

Chris Robinson, chairman of the museum’s collections and learning committee, added: ‘Generations of Lochaber’s school children have visited the West Highland Museum,  sparking a life-long interest in local history in many.

‘This funding will help us sustain and further improve this service.’

This year is the museum’s 100th anniversary and exciting events are planned.
Museum Galleries Scotland has also awarded funding for an events co-ordinator to
organise a programme of events this summer/autumn.

The focal point of the museum’s plans will be the arrival of a portraits exhibition.

The Return of the Stuarts exhibition will feature portraits of the Royal Stuart dynasty in exile, including paintings of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his family rarely seen in Scotland before.

The museum plans a series of events over this week to celebrate its anniversary and a day is planned with schools in Cameron Square on August 19.

The museum is also launching a competition with schools to design a logo for
its 100th birthday to appear on its website and anniversary branding.

Highland Cinema has donated a £40 voucher for the winner and children can enter the
competition via their school or at the museum.

CAPTION:

The West Highland Museum in Fort William which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.NO F26 WHM 01

Extra pic:

Chairman of the museum board of directors, Ian Peter MacDonald.

NO F47 West Highland Museum