New lease of life

Following increasing concerns that the Rosemarkie Stone was showing signs of deterioration, specialist firm Graciela Ainsworth Sculpture Conservation Ltd was appointed to carry out conservation work earlier this summer.

See here for some photos of the conservation work in progress and call in to the museum to see for yourself the great results  of the work.

100 Club

The Summer draw of the 100 Club was held on 29th June, with five lucky winners -Georgina White (£50), Barbara Cohen (£20), Eric Allan, Dr P Z Dranzart and Mr J P Hudson (each £10).

If you are not already a member, it's not too late to join in time for the Autumn draw - it costs £12 a year for four draws of five prizes - a fun way to help the museum, and you could win £50

Contact Doug Maclean for details, call in at the museum or purchase a subscription on line.

Courtyard enhancement

Back in February, we were successful in winning funds from Tesco’s “Bags of Help” scheme to refurbish the courtyard outside the museum and to equip it with a seat for visitors. Since then, workers from the Community Payback Scheme have done a wonderful job repainting the walls of the courtyard, and we have lodged a planning application with the Council for permission to complete the refurbishment of the cobbled area and the installation of a seat, which we expect to see completed by October.

We are also looking into the possibility of having the exterior of Groam House repainted.

North Coast 500

Groam House Museum is now a business member of North Coast 500, and is offering a discount of 10% off shop purchases to anyone carrying a valid NC500 membership card.

Although it is still early to say, there does appear to be an increase in visitor numbers as a result of this significant tourism initiative - combined with the enthusiastic commitment to tourism on the Black Isle by the Black Isle Tourism Team (BITT), of which Groam House Museum is a member.

Parlez-vous français?

Or German, for that matter? Fortrose Academy pupils have helped us out with translating some of our interpretation panels in the museum into French and German. Although we approached the Academy towards the end of term when they were busy with exams, they have managed to squeeze in the first few panels, and will complete more when they return from the summer break. Many thanks for a great job!

Festival of Museums

Groam House Museum laid on a busy programme of activities for this year’s Festival of Museums - which proved a great success, and resulted in additional funds for the Museum’s coffers. Combining a craft fair and craft taster sessions, with sessions on the harp with Bill Taylor, a walk to Caird’s Cave, fun times making Mandalas on the beach, and refreshments, the weekend offered something for everyone.

See here for photos of the various events

Country Life magazine

Those of you who read Country Life magazine will have been pleasantly surprised to see an article on Groam House Museum in the 21 June edition. Written by Fine Arts Correspondent Huon Mallalieu, it gives a great account of the museum, its collection of Pictish stones and of the work of George Bain. This coupled with the great coverage we get in the NC500 literature and in the NC500 book (on sale in the museum bookshop) all helps to spread the message of the treasures in store in Groam House and to encourage more visitors.

Plant sale and Open Gardens

The Plant Sale and Open Gardens event on 24 June was a great success, and contributed significantly more to the museum’s finances than we had expected. Fifteen gardens were open for the day, and over a hundred people took the opportunity to visit them, despite the rather blowy weather. It looks like a firm favourite to repeat next year.

Many thanks to everyone who helped make this event the success it was - the helpers, the gardeners and everyone who supported it. Organiser Di Priday thanked all the people who had opened their gardens, and those who had helped on the day, by inviting them for afternoon tea after the event - which, too, was a great success.

See here for photos of the day.

Next fund-raising event this year is the pre-loved book sale in September.

Events programme

Just a reminder - here is the events programme for the year,  updated since last newsletter. Mark the dates in your diary now!

See here for the programme.

George Bain Lecture

The next lecture in this year’s series is the bi-ennial George Bain lecture which will be presented by Susan Seright. This should be a really interesting presentation, in which Susan will be presenting some of her recent research, and as yet unpublished work,  into George Bain - so be prepared to learn something new.

Museum Accreditation

Our application to continue our accredited museum status was made in May this year. Amongst other curatorial obligations we had to include the commitment to dealing with the backlog of fully documenting our collections. To address this, we have commissioned Jo Clements to tackle the George Bain Collection. To be finished by mid-October, the work will complete the inventorying of the donations from the Bain family and others. At the same time volunteers Su, Mary, Megan and Jill will be tackling a similar task on the local history collections. It’s a fundamental task and one that we are all looking forward to finishing!

At present, some of the funds gathered from this year’s very successful fund-raising events, as well as part of The Highland Council grant, are being used to pay for the work to document the George Bain Collection. From November onwards we will be looking to external grants to enable us to build on the inventories, by accessioning and cataloguing all of the items identified. Progress indeed.

Volunteers still needed

More volunteers have joined the museum over the past few months, but still more are needed. So if you have a few hours a month to give to a worthy cause, and to work with a really friendly group of people, do get in touch. We need volunteers for all sorts of things - not just for greeting visitors in the museum. See here for some of the many and varied things our volunteers do!

 Doug Maclean 


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Groam House News

23 July 2017