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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Looking back on another busy year in Highlands

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Inverness Men's Shed members enjoyed a talk.
Inverness Men's Shed members enjoyed a talk.

This was another busy year for the Highland Archive Centre, with lots of researchers through the doors and lots of enquiries answered by the archive team. We have also hosted a variety of different events for the public including talks and open days as well as staff attending outside events.

Throughout the year we have continued to use our collections to support people at all stages of learning. Primary school pupils (from schools including Muirtown, Duncan Forbes, Invergarry, Central, Dingwall, Balnain, Foyers and Lochardil) have studied subjects from WWI and WWII to the history of the local area, Jacobites, Victorians and the monarchy. We have supported Fortrose Academy and Glen Urquhart High School’s careers events and have spoken to and welcomed student groups from the University of the Highlands & Islands and the University of Glasgow. During the summer and October holidays we collaborated with High Life Highland colleagues to run a series of very popular School’s Out Activities, making personal archive boxes and investigating where dragons and monsters have appeared in archival records. It’s always a pleasure to chat to school pupils and we’re always amazed by their thoughtfulness and insightful questions.

Activities have brought history alive for youngsters.
Activities have brought history alive for youngsters.

Our education focus continued through our relationship with the Fife College Learning Centre in HMP Inverness where we delivered a series of four workshops to learners on the history of mental health care (a subject requested by prisoners). This is always a hugely rewarding partnership and we were delighted to hear from the Core Skills Tutor that the students, who can sometimes be hard to engage, had enjoyed it immensely and developed new interests and increased knowledge as a result.

We have taken part in a wide variety of events during 2023; the Inverness Vintage Car Rally (where we showcased some of our large collection of car photographs), Get Set for Summer (a free event held in the Northern Meeting Park by High Life Highland and LCC Live); the ARCH Highland Family Heritage Day, the Scottish Canals open day and Doors Open Day and we have been filming with some of the wonderful Munro of Foulis documents as part of a new film about Lost Inverlael.

Over the past 12 months staff (mainly our Community Engagement Officer!) have been extremely busy giving talks (online, in-person at HARC and in-person at other venues). These have included: the Central Scotland Family History Society, the 3Ls Genealogy Club in Strathclyde, Strathearn Archaeological and Historical Society, Fort Augustus Heritage Group, Glenurquhart Heritage Group, Inverness Local History Forum, Historic Environment Scotland, Dingwall U3A, Inverness Culloden Rotary, Groam House Museum History Group, University of the Highlands and Islands librarians, the NHS Retirement Fellowship, the Royal Naval Association, the Caithness Family History Society, Rotary Clubs, Men’s Sheds, women’s groups, colleagues from other High Life Highland services, the Genealogical Society of Queensland, the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa, the Society of Australian Genealogists and Scottish Indexes.

This means that we have interacted with over 6400 people across the world through these events, talks and school groups alone! If we didn’t see you this year, we hope to see in 2024!

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