Gaelic development officer to work with Highland Museums

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West Highland Museum in Fort William is to become one of four sites to benefit from a Gaelic development officer (GDO) thanks to an award from Bord na Gàidhlig.

The role of the GDO will be to promote the use of the Gaelic language and Bord na Gàidhlig’s ‘Gaelic Development Officer’ funding scheme will contribute £28,500 to the post.

The GDO will work with the museums to explore opportunities for maximising the focus on Gaelic language and cultural heritage across all their activities.

Gairloch Museum the Highland Museum of Childhood in Strathpeffer and Applecross Historical Society are working together with West Highland on this funded project.

All share a common purpose to promote, encourage and inspire interest in the history, heritage, culture and character of the Highlands.

Dr Karen Buchanan, curator at Gairloch Museum, which is taking the lead on the project, said: ‘This is an exciting opportunity for the four museums to take a strategic approach to embedding their heritage activities in Gaelic culture with the help of a Gaelic speaking heritage professional.

‘All four of the museums involved wish to increase their use of Gaelic within the museum and for outreach activities but it has proven difficult to find Gaelic-speaking volunteers within the communities to champion this objective.

‘With the help of this new post we will be able to create bilingual displays, customise displays for Gaelic speakers and learners and design handling boxes for outreach with Gaelic speaking groups.’

The GDO will be tasked with identifying opportunities for interpreting museum collections through the lens of Gaelic culture and increasing the use of Gaelic language in displays and outreach.

Better links will be developed between the museums and Gaelic speakers and learners within their communities with the goal of encouraging museum audiences to enhance their Gaelic language skills and use Gaelic language more often.

Shona NicIllinnein, ceannard Bòrd na Gàidhlig, added: ‘Bòrd na Gàidlig welcomes this exciting new position which will strengthen the use of Gaelic in an area well-known for its strong links to our language, culture and heritage.

‘The work will contribute to the National Gaelic Plan’s aim that Gaelic is used more often, by more people and in a wider range of situations as well as contributing to the Gaelic Tourism Strategy for Scotland. We wish the Highland Museums all the very best with this innovative appointment.’

In addition to the GDO the museums will also be creating Gaelic language materials for a new digital learning hub that will connect the Highland Museums to teachers and pupils in schools across the area.