Open doors for 40th anniversary celebration

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The Arran Heritage Museum celebrated their 40th anniversary by offering visitors free entry to the attraction and a rare insight into the behind the scenes work.

Visitors who were out enjoying the summer sunshine with the temperature nearing 30 degrees were allowed an all access visit and the opportunity to meet with the volunteers who were on hand to provide knowledgeable answers to any visitors’ questions.

In addition to the museum itself visitors enjoyed live music by the Jazz Cafe Band and the Arran Pipe Band while relaxing in the gardens or under the marquee where many enjoyed afternoon tea and refreshments from Cafe Rosaburn.

Musicians Jim Arnold, Sandy McQueen and Rev Ian Macleod also added a touch of authenticity to the period surroundings with a performance on the organ and fiddle which echoed through the domestic setting of some of the exhibits.

Of particular interest, volunteer researchers Mhairi Macmillan, Jean Glen and Margaret Wright gave visitors a behind the scenes look at the resources and techniques used by the genealogy department.

Not usually open to the public, visitors were allowed into the archive room which is a temperature and humidity controlled room that houses the vast repository of material collected over the last 40 years.

Stored in acid free containers and professional archival conditions, the archive consists of a huge amount of social history, local books, photographs, maps, ephemera and every single edition of the Arran Banner going back to 1974.

Manned entirely by volunteers since it opened in 1979 the museum has taken responsible for helping to preserve, record and illustrate the history of Arran and all of her inhabitants.

The more than 20 strong team, who do everything from maintaining the attractive garden through to the archiving and displaying of exhibits, have been responsible for elevating the museum to a four star family attraction that has flourished over the years and is dear to the hearts of many Arran residents.

The museum is totally independent, financed by entrance fees, shop sales and donations and the ever increasing items on display – and archived materials – have all been donated by people from Arran and those with Arran connections.

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Meet the experts at museum

Throughout July and August the Arran Heritage Museum will be hosting a speaker each Wednesday who will give a short introduction to either the island’s unique geology or its memorable archaeology.

There will be two talks on the same subject each day at 1.30pm and again at 2.30pm. The talks are free except for normal museum admission, and will be held in either the museum’s geology or archaeology rooms.  The speakers are both highly qualified experts on their subject, and during the earlier part of the summer the geology talks were already enjoying capacity audiences.  Dates for geology talks are August 7 and 14, while the archaeology talks are on July 24 and 31, then August 21 and 28.

The museum is also hosting each Thursday, at present, members from the island’s spinning and weaving group who are demonstrating their skills in these traditional crafts. You can meet these experts from 11am to 3pm each Thursday in July and August, and they will be very happy to show you their equipment in action and examples of their work.

Visitors enjoy the summer sunshine and a performance by the Arran Pipe Band. 01_B29museum01

Museum photographer and helping hand, Jim Arnold performs on the organ. 01_B29museum02

Chairman John Lauder, vice chairman John Sillars, archivist Keith Thomson and secretary/manager Tom Macleod show visitors the archive room.  01_B29museum03

Geologist Gordon Macleod who helped to set up the geology department showed visitors around the geology exhibits. 01_B29museum04

Megan Fyfe and Chris Black showed visitors some of the items in the storeroom that are not on permanent display. 01_B29museum05

Volunteer researchers Mhairi Macmillan, Jean Glen and Margaret Wright demonstrate the archival resources and information held by the genealogy department. 01_B29museum06

Elspeth McDonald welcomes visitors and plays a number of roles at the museum.  01_B29museum07

Jim Arnold, Sandy McQueen and Rev Ian Macleod perform for visitors in one of the exhibit rooms. 01_B29museum08

Visitors enjoy the smooth sounds of the Jazz Cafe Band who performed under a marquee in the garden. 01_B29museum09

Visitors relax in the garden on the seat provided by the Arran Society of Glasgow. 01_B29museum10

The museum lawn becomes an impromptu picnic site where visitors enjoy the live music and refreshments on offer. 01_B29museum11