Transforming The Bunker - A New Museum for Gairloch

Friday 25th March – Saturday 6th May


The first exhibition of our 2016 season will help visitors imagine our museum in its new home.   The former Anti-Aircraft Operations Room in Gairloch is a monolithic, dark, and airless building.  Although an important landmark in our village, it is something of a mystery to most residents who have never been inside it.  Gairloch and District Heritage Company are in the process of transforming this brutalist Cold War bunker into an inviting and dynamic visitor attraction and a centre for celebrating the community’s heritage.


This exhibition follows on from and expands upon our spring roadshow, which took our new museum plans to the various corners of the parish.  The exhibition combines architects plans, artist’s impressions and objects from our stores to show our vision of the character and content of the new museum.  The exhibition will give visitors a rare chance to see objects from our collection which cannot currently be on permanent display.  There will also be an opportunity to hear the oral histories that have been recorded locally over the past few years, and which are being used to provide a context for some of our objects and our new displays.  Entry to the museum will be free every Saturday during April to encourage the community to visit and comment on our plans.


The Inner Sound by Alison Dunlop RSW

Sat 14th May - Sat 25th June (Gairloch Heritage Museum)

Sat 21st May - Sun 5th June (The Artist’s Studio, Opinan by Badachro)


Exhibition Launch 14th May - Entrance free for Festival of Museums 2016, supported by Museums Galleries Scotland


See for further details of this exhibition.


Canadian by birth, artist Alison Dunlop has lived in Scotland for more than thirty years.  She paints from her studio, a restored byre, on her croft in Opinan on the southern side of the Gair Loch.  The works in the exhibition are inspired by the drama, which constantly unfolds beyond her windows, over the Inner Sound.  Alison paints not ‘from’ nature (a specific view or moment) but by 'tuning into' the energy of the constant change within this environment. Trying to explore an essence of the mysteries sensed out there.”


The occasion for mounting this exhibition “The Inner Sound” is, in part, to honour the centenary of the well-known American abstract expressionist painter Jon Schueler, whose work and writings have greatly inspired many artists, Alison included.  He lived in and worked from his home near Mallaig for many years and his centenary is being marked with a Symposium and Exhibition at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye, during May and June 2016.


Gairloch Heritage Museum is thrilled to have the opportunity to display the work of such an accomplished artist as Alison Dunlop, particularly since this body of work is inspired by our local area, its beauty and its sense of place. We are also delighted at the opportunity this exhibition gives us to strengthen our partnership links with our colleagues at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.


Micro-landscapes of Wester Ross:

an exploration in vitreous enamel by Rowena Dugdale

Saturday 2nd July - Saturday 6th August


Enamelling is the ancient craft of fusing glass to metal. Seeking to combine this technique with modern photographic decal techniques, Rowena Dugdale has created a body of work inspired by her photographic explorations of the local area. The enamels reveal microcosms of mosses, lichens, feathers and shells - a smaller but no less beautiful part of the larger landscape. The alchemy of enamelling also reveals the flaws and quirks of the process. Taking a relaxed approach, the stress fractures, warped metal and imperfect edges are allowed and encouraged.


A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, Rowena studied textile design and followed a freelance illustration career working for clients as diverse as the BBC, Random House, The Guardian, Financial Times & Standard Life. In 2008 she set up textiles label Red Ruby Rose and creates her accessories from her home studio in Big Sand by Gairloch.





Edinburgh to the Overside by Gillian Penney

Saturday  13th August  -  Saturday 24th September


The exhibition chronicles the artist’s familiar journey from her home in Edinburgh to her family’s retreat on the Overside – the South shore of Loch Gairloch. The work depicts those landmarks along the way that serve as mental milestones to break up the journey. Also included are glimpsed landscapes of the Gairloch area – at journey’s end.


The pieces are executed in a range of media including acrylic, watercolour and relief printmaking techniques. In her recent work, Gillian aims to simplify and stylise her subject matter and to use a harmonious colour palette – often deviating from realistic, or ‘local’, colour.


Gillian is a retired gynaecologist who now devotes most of her time to making, and appreciating, art. She is currently in her third year of study at Leith School of Art in Edinburgh. Courses studied have included Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking.


Innovation, Architecture and Design in Gairloch Parish

by Gairloch U3A Local History Group

Saturday 1st October  - Saturday 29th October


This exhibition acknowledges the eponymous VisitScotland theme year by celebrating uniqueness and originality in the way buildings have evolved over the years within Gairloch parish.  It tracks the progression from early man’s craftsmanship for safety and longevity to the modern architect’s creative vision. In the process, the history of local housing is examined from roundhouses and simple crofters’ dwellings to the houses of the wealthy - focussing on some particularly innovative dwellings along the way.  And a selection of our most remarkable community buildings, such as schools, churches, hotels and other noteworthy buildings will be presented as an architectural heritage trail for the visitor to take away and explore.


Gairloch Heritage Museum :   Achtercairn • Gairloch • Ross-shire • IV21 2BP • UK

Curator : Dr. Karen Buchanan (Thompson)

tel : 01445 712287

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Gairloch Heritage Museum is operated by Gairloch & District Heritage Company Ltd which is run by volunteers and is a registered charity no. SC010249