Community support

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Help us create an even better experience for visitors to the Strathnaver Museum and the Clan Mackay Centre by supporting our refurbishment project!

Strathnaver Museum and the iconic church it resides in is at the heart of the history of the Clearances. This makes it culturally central to the story of the Highlands and of Scotland as a whole. But the Clearances don’t just relate to Scottish History – the repercussions of the Clearances echo across the world and have impacted on nations throughout the former British Empire. Our collections, humbly and lovingly curated by a dedicated team of volunteers, are internationally significant. The time has come to recognise this significance and to work towards a world class presentation of this astonishing story of resilience, greed, incompetence, cruelty and above all of survival.

To secure the future of our historically important B listed building we have identified a pressing need to redevelop the museum building to meet accreditation and industry best practice. Coupled with this is the desire to improve the visitor experience by freeing up space to improve interpretation, engage more effectively with children and young people, and provide better access to our collection and archive for visiting researchers. The redevelopment of the museum into a heritage hub will allow us to welcome more visitors, deliver more events and activities, deliver additional training opportunities while continuing to protect, preserve and interpret our important collection. Ultimately, the project will make us more resilient and ensure our future sustainability.

Our project will develop Strathnaver Museum as a heritage hub for north west Sutherland. This will have social, educational and economic benefits as we further develop, and seek to develop new partnerships. We will achieve this by:
• make more effective use of the internal space within the building to enable us to carry out our services more effectively eg. educational activities;
• take advantage of opportunities to improve our sustainability through income generation activities;
• carry out a programme of education activities to help people understand the heritage associated with the Museum;
• implement an annual events and activities programme;
• provide training opportunities and workshops for our volunteers and other members of the public;
• improve, modernise and theme displays within the museum.

Why our building is important:

Our building is an important and fascinating piece in the story of the Clearances as it was from the pulpit which still dominates the main room that Rev David Mackenzie was obliged to read out eviction notices to his tenants. Then later in 1883 where tenants and crofters from across north Sutherland met to give evidence to the Napier Commission: Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Condition of Crofters and Cottars in the Highlands and Islands.

Built in 1774 the former parish church is a category B listed building signifying its regional importance to the area. Strathnaver Museum serves the ancient province of Strathnaver, or Mackay Country, which comprises the parishes of Tongue, Farr, Durness and Eddrachilles and covers 2,106 sq kms. The building, the collection it houses, and the story told by the Strathnaver Museum is important not only to the local community but also to the wider Scottish diaspora.

Total project costs for the pre-development work are £56,682 and we have secured £34,874. We are looking for £21,808 match funding from Aviva. The funding will be used to purchase professional support in the form of architects plans, costings, community consultation and project support.

Strathnaver Museum

Strathnaver Museum opened its doors in 1976 as a result of a dedicated group of local people who recognised the importance of preserving this important building and the story it now helps to tell. Today the organisation remains volunteer run and its success is down to their hard work and dedication.

Location: Bettyhill