Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of the Gairloch and District Heritage Company

15 January 2018

Gairloch High School 7.15 pm.

 

 

Present

Roy Macintyre; Karen Buchanan; Pauline Butler; Jeremy Fenton; Liz Forrest; Hugh Macintyre; Alice Mackenzie; Dugald Macpherson; Willie Macrae; Marcus Simpson; Allan Templeton; Nevis Hulme; Katie Pilcher.

 

Apologies

Irene Macintyre; Vincent Davies.

 

1. Co-option of Nevis to the Board

Nevis has been representing Gairloch High School on the Board since October 2016. All present agreed that he should be formally co-opted to be a Director. We can now register him via the Companies House website.

 

2. Conflicts of Interest

No potential conflict of interest was declared with respect to the Agenda.

 

3. Minutes of the Board meeting 20 November 2017 & Matters Arising

These were agreed to be a correct record, proposed by Hugh and seconded by Jeremy.

Matters arising:

i) The first meeting of the ‘publications’ group took place on 23 November and established the work which has to be done by Spring 2019 and the principles underpinning this. The next meeting is due early February.

ii) Commemorative Christmas cards, recognising the achievement of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, were sent or delivered to more than 110 past and present volunteers. Margie is very appreciative that this has been undertaken.

iii) Having looked at the practice of other museums, Karen proposed that we no longer require those who wish to take photographs of the displays to complete a form but have a general notice on display to the effect that all photos taken must be for personal use only, not commercial or public. She will also prepare a flyer to tell every visitor about the progress of the relocation project, invite donations and include the proviso for taking photographs.

 

4. Treasurer’s Report

Dugald presented a draft summary statement of the cash movements for 2017. He noted the very pleasing 15% increase in the overall income from visitors to the Museum, especially from shop sales. Expenditure for our usual operations was in line with 2016. Various amendments will be made as a result of observations made. The unexpected requirement that HLF take out security over the AAOR has resulted in a substantial additional legal fee for which we may not be able to claim. He hopes to complete his checking by the end of January to submit to the accountants.

 

5. EGM & VAT

Both OSCR & MGS having agreed the proposed change in our “Purposes” to enable us to have an employee on the Board, an EGM to amend the Articles of Association was held on 12 December. The meeting was quorate, despite the bad weather, and all motions were passed. Karen is now a co-opted Director.

Dugald has progressed the complex process of registration of the company for VAT purposes, but has had to submit a report to justify the change. We await the reply.

 

6. AGM 26 March 2018

i) As yet our preferred speaker has not confirmed his availability. A suggestion for a ‘reserve’ was agreed.

ii) Notices for the AGM and renewal of membership will go out before the end of February. After discussion, the Board agreed that membership subscriptions should remain unchanged for this final year in the Steading. We need to ascertain the situation with respect to VAT on membership fees.

iii) Roy, Irene, Dugald and Allan are due to retire as Directors this year, though are eligible to stand again. We are currently one member short of our permitted complement of 12.

 

7. Curator’s Report

Karen had circulated her Report covering Building and grounds; Collection; Training & networking; Exhibitions, events & outreach; Miscellaneous.

Further points:

i) The limitations of the current broadband deal are frustrating but cannot readily be resolved.

ii) Suggestions for the unfilled temporary exhibition slot will be further explored.

 

8. L&I Officer’s Report

Katie had circulated her Report covering Loans box scheme (local schools, care homes); Events (winter lectures, Easter activities, Festival of Museums 2018, the Year of Young People); Social media.

Further points:

i) Katie is heartened by the good response to her survey of local teachers.

ii) Funding is available to support the creation of two loans boxes. She also hopes to develop ‘on-line’ resources for learning, beginning with the topic of crofting.

iii) A different approach will be taken, on a trial basis, to the exhibition preview events, starting in March. The aim is to attract a broader audience.

 

9. Museum development: updates & way forward

i) After a further meeting with the preferred contractor on 7 December, at which additional, acceptable ‘value engineering’ was agreed, the building work contract has been awarded to Simpsons of Beauly. Work will begin on site on 5 February. After discussion, it was accepted that it would be best if the utilities were now to be put into our name.

ii) We now own the AAOR, subject to HLF being satisfied that the disposition for the sale is acceptable to their legal team. A new lock has been put on the door. Billboards will be erected by the contractors to indicate the purpose of the construction work. We may also be able to put up our giant HLF notice.

iii) Karen has continued to liaise with the designers. Following a meeting on 9 January with Katie, Pauline and Jeremy, who are working on various aspects of the exhibitions, a schedule has been agreed to meet the expectations of Campbell & Co to complete the initial planning of layout, objects to display and key themes over the next two months.

iv) The LEADER panel agreed to support our funding request of £167,970 at the end of November. We still await the formal award offer, a month after it was expected.

We heard, just before Christmas, that HLF were minded to give us full ‘permission to start’ on the basis of the information they had been sent and the official letter was received on 11 January.

v) The William Grant Foundation has awarded us £50,000, which has been critical in achieving the additional funding required for the increased construction costs.

HES has agreed to fund 40% of the costs of specified aspects of the building conversion/renovation which, we anticipate, will amount to about £79K. This should obviate the need to draw on museum reserves/underwriting commitments by Board members to meet the construction costs.

After correspondence with Pauline, the Foyle Foundation paid their £50K award upfront in mid-December. As soon as the HES and LEADER formal grant offers have been received, various other trusts/foundations will be sent updates which may prompt further advance payments.

Given that community fund-raising efforts have generated more than £50K in 2017, the £40K ‘match-funding’ commitment from the Carl Meyl Trust has now been paid.

A pledge of £1000 has recently been received from Sands Caravan Site.

vi) Mia has calculated the cash flow required to cover the construction payments, taking into account the likely timing of income from funders. Given this, the Board resolved to request that the Architectural Heritage Fund make a loan available to the Company (GDHC) for up to £375,000, or such lesser sum as will be underwritten by the Highland Council.

vii) The pub quizzes held in November and December have raised £962.

Gruinard have offered us another Garden open day. No further big fund-raising events are planned currently. We hope that donations will be forthcoming from individuals who seemed willing to contribute to the project fund when approached.

viii) Pauline outlined the current development groups which are working to deliver the project: building/construction; conservation and decant of the collection; exhibition design; activity plan (learning and engagement); publications; retail. However, she expressed concern that we do not, at present, have any group looking at the overall business management in order for the centre to operate effectively, integrating the several lets (retail, café and West Highland College), income and expenditure, sales and admissions etc. An appointment as commercial manager is envisaged in the Business Plan, Karen has a job description which she will circulate but no funding has been assigned for this post before opening. We recognise that we have a skills gap as far as business expertise is concerned and that this needs to be addressed as a priority.

 

10. Any Other Business

i) It was agreed that, despite the fee which will now need to be paid, we will continue to have our meetings in the High School.

ii) Having been revised as and when needed since 2015 and with no issues having been raised through the Accreditation process, it was agreed that the Policies, Section 5 Curatorial require no substantive amendments.

 

11. Date of next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 26 February 2018 starting at 7.15 pm.

 

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 9.00 pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curator's Report 15th January 2018

 

 

Building and Grounds

 

The fence between the museum car park and Derek Roxburgh’s land has still not been put up.

 

Apart from the usual leaks at this time of year, there do not appear to be any problems with the premises at present.

 

Collection

 

Little progress has been made with the archive accessions backlog, but this will be a priority in the next couple of months.

 

Duncan Ross is making progress on adding the archive catalogue to Adlib.  Adlib is now on a separate computer in the library.

 

Preparatory work for the decant has been planned and will be undertaken by a small group of volunteers as well as myself and Katie.  Training and specialist work will be undertaken by Rachael Thomas, Rebecca Jackson-Hunt (Leisure and Culture Dundee) and Sophie Younger (Glasgow Museums).  This work is funded by the Radcliffe Trust.

 

Training and Networking

 

I will take one module this semester in Gaelic Language, and will work from home that day.  The timetable is not yet finalised.

 

I attended a HMF meeting at Culloden on 21st November at which updates were given on the Our Collective Futures project, the WWI project and the bid to expand the Pictish Trail.  A presentation was given on the National Trusts ‘Project Reveal’’.

 

Projects

 

The beginning of the Unlocking Scotland’s Sounds project is approaching and we will need to inventory the part of our audio collections that they will digitise for us.  I will be looking for volunteers to help with this.

 

A group of volunteers has met once to identify content of images within our collection which are not fully catalogued.  Hopefully they will continue to meet this year.

 

Exhibitions, events and outreach

 

We will host four exhibitions next year, with the final one being an outcome of the WW1 project, led by Pauline.  There is still one available exhibition slot available from 26th May to 7th July.  We are looking for something different from the two exhibitions of paintings that we already have scheduled.

 

 

Miscellaneous

 

The outcome of my attempts to improve our broadband speeds and reduce costs were only partially successful.   As it turned out, someone had renewed our contract with Clear Business on 1st March last year and so we are tied in with them until 28/02/2019.  They are unable to give us a faster speed - which is irritating as we are stuck with them.  However, I did manage to get them to reduce what we are paying per month for the remainder of the duration of our contract.

 

I replaced my office computer and have put the old one in the library where it can be used by volunteers who need access to Adlib.

 

 

Karen Thompson (Curator)

 

 

 

 

Learning and Interpretation Officer Report 15 January 2018

 

• Loan Box Scheme

In keeping with the Activity Plan.

 

Local Schools

Created and sent a survey to teachers in the local schools for input into loan box scheme. Proved to be the best way to make contact and get feedback – intend to use this method in the future. From the responses received the favourite topics for boxes are Crofting, Timelines and ‘Where Does Information Come From?’ In the additional comments box provided, a geology box of samples was suggested. The responses have shown that many teachers were unaware the museum currently has loan boxes on offer. Once the new loan boxes have been developed/existing ones improved, advertising these will become a priority.

 

A visit with Alison Parfitt at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery is to be organised in the near future to learn more about their process for creating and advertising loan boxes.

 

Currently have a ‘Toys from the Past’ tester box on loan with Emily Ross at Bualnaluib School.

 

Local Care Homes

Visited Isle View with a reminiscence box just before the Christmas break. The session was set out and advertised to the residents as a talk about what happened in the local area during World War II. A selection of objects and photographs were used as focal points for discussion. The Activity Coordinator was impressed with the engagement of the residents. Feedback from the staff was positive. We agreed this would be continued in the future but with smaller groups of residents to encourage more engagement. Isle View hope to organise visits to the new museum once it opens.

 

• Events

 

Winter Lectures

We have four talks organised this year.

 

Adventures on the Pacific Crest Trail by Mandy Rush and Corey Jones. Tuesday 16th January.

 

The Landscape as a Museum: Artefacts That Stay Where They Are by John Wood. Tuesday 30th January.

 

Matchbox Holders in WW1 - Manufactured & Trench Art by Dorothy Malone. Tuesday 20th February.

 

Slaves and Highlanders: Highland Scots in the Slave Trade and on Caribbean Plantations by David Alston. Tuesday 6th March.

 

Wanted to use venues other than the Gairloch Community Hall Annexe but this was not possible. Hopefully this will change next year.

 

Easter Activities at the Museum

Brainstorming ideas for activities we can trial out over the Easter holidays. Current idea is an Easter Egg Treasure Hunt. Updates to come on this as planning and preparations take place.

 

Festival of Museums 2018

Application was accepted for £326 towards hosting an event for Festival of Museums 2018.

We will run workshops on dyeing wool with natural materials with a spinning demonstration taking place during the workshops. In response to feedback from the pottery workshops back in October where parents were disappointed not be able to take part, our FOM event will allow families to participate together.

The event will be the first in a series we could run on local skills. Sessions on spinning with a hand spindle and weaving on a cardboard loom, could follow during the summer. Updates to follow.

 

Scotland’s Themed Years #YOYP

The theme for 2018 is ‘Young People’ (ages 8-26). It will be a year to celebrate all young people. As we hope to engage and cater more for young people as we move into the new museum, this is something to be looked into for trialling family-friendly events. A branding package is available, events can be added to the list on VisitScotland and hashtags can be used on social media meaning any events we held would reach a larger audience.

 

• Other

 

Social Media

Efforts have been made to increase the number of followers on our Instagram and Twitter pages. These have slowly been going up. Continuing to use both sites as equally as we use Facebook. When work begins on the new museum, I will be posting weekly updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

Katie Pilcher

 

 

 

 

 

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

Curator : Dr. Karen Buchanan (Thompson)

tel : 01445 712287

email : info@gairlochheritagemuseum.org

Gairloch Heritage Museum is operated by Gairloch & District Heritage Company Ltd

 which is run by volunteers and is a registered charity no. SC010249