2019 has been another fantastic and busy year for us, with over 7000 visitors from all over the world. Year on year we have seen our visitor numbers increase, and we hope that this upwards trend will continue into next year and beyond.
We were excited to be able to return our beautiful ‘Stuart Chair’ to permanent display for the first time in years following its conservation last year. Dating to c.1660, this chair reputedly belonged to Bonnie Prince Charlie, and has been a highlight of our extended Jacobite exhibition this season! The conservation work was carried out by the wonderful Younger Conservation Ltd, and was very generously funded by the Association of Independent Museums and the Pilgrim Trust.
Our temporary exhibition ‘Wha’s Like Us?’, which celebrated Scottish culture around the world, has also been a hit this year. As part of this, we invited visitors to share information of their Scottish ancestry, and were amazed by how many people from all over the world trace their roots back to our little country.
Another exciting development this year was David joining the team as our Redevelopment Manager. David will be taking us through the initial stages of a long-planned project to expand and improve the museum and the services that we offer. The redevelopment will include the addition of much-needed facilities such as toilets and a fit-for-purpose reception area, improve our exhibition spaces, make our building accessible to all, and ensure long-term sustainability. We are thrilled to have David on the team, and can’t wait to see our dreams become a reality! More redevelopment updates coming you way in the new year!
We had some great family events this year as well: a very busy Highland Archaeology Festival saw nearly 50 people – locals and tourists alike – dropping by the museum to try their hand at soap-carving, Pictish painting and targe-making, and our annual Easter and Halloween crafts brought in some familiar faces.
We also visited the local Cubs to run history sessions on the Jacobites and the First and Second World Wars – the children particularly enjoyed getting the opportunity to hold and touch some of our objects and dress up!
Once again, our small group of volunteers have proven to be the beating heart of the museum, and have been absolutely invaluable to us this year. Officially, they man the front desk, run events and catalogue our collections…but unofficially they provide a warm welcome and some good conversation, they answer questions, give out information, personal recommendations and advice, and generally make sure that our visitors have the best experience possible in Glencoe. Our Trip Advisor reviews are testimony to how much this means to visitors, and what a difference volunteers can make to your organisation.
Finally, a definite highlight of the year for us was a visit from Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, two of the stars of the TV show Outlander. You can read all about their visit on our previous blog post, Outlander Comes to Glencoe!
Though the museum has closed for the season, it doesn’t mean that we stop; we are already busy organising exhibitions for next year, continuing with our collections cataloguing project and planning for redevelopment, and you can keep up to date with everything through our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) or on here.
We hope to see many of you in 2020!