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Family history facilities to be expanded at Highland museum

By Val Sweeney

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Nairn Museum is to expand its family history facilities.
Nairn Museum is to expand its family history facilities.

FAMILY historians will benefit from improved facilities when carrying out research at Nairn Museum thanks to a £16,275 windfall.

It is among nine projects across Scotland to be awarded a share of more than £300,000 of funding from Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS), the national development body for Scotland’s museums.

The Highland Museum of Childhood at Strathpeffer is also to receive £14,650 for the first phase of a redevelopment project.

Nairn Museum will use its grant to create a new family history centre which is currently housed in a small room.

Manager Melissa Davies said it would extend and improve access and facilities for local historians, family history researchers, professional genealogists, visiting academics, and amateur sleuths in Nairn and the surrounding areas.

It will include the relocation of the centre into a bigger space and new IT equipment.

“We are thrilled to receive this award from Museums Galleries Scotland, and can’t wait to get started on the work," she said.

"The refurbishment will be carried out by local contractors, and will radically improve the experience for people visiting the museum to find out more about their relatives and ancestors.

"It will also provide excellent opportunities to build on the skills and knowledge of our dedicated team of volunteers without whose support there would be no Nairn Museum.”

At the Highland Museum of Childhood, the funds are set to reinvigorate the museum retail and reception space through refurbishment of the space and new shop stock.

Interpretation panels and labels will also be refreshed.

During the initial stage, the museum will invite the community to take part in the plans for development.

The nine projects to receive funding range from the restoration and video of a rare 1960 Bristol double deck bus at the GrampianTransport Museum to the creation of a 'body voyager' gallery space at the Surgeons’ Hall Museum in Edinburgh, exploring the topic of robotics in surgery.

Lucy Casot, chief executive of MGS, said the organisation was delighted to support museums and galleries to continue their ambitious approach to making the fascinating collections in their care accessible to everyone.

"The nine funded projects are looking to the future to create museums that are relevant and responsive to their communities and visitors," she said.

"Many of the museums are using the grant to strengthen their position in these changing times through developing their financial sustainability, increasing use of digital technology in exhibitions, and creating peer-to-peer learning opportunities.”

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