Dunkeld Archive and Museum extension

This fundraising initiative is to help us fund our costs relating to the planning permission stage of the project.
Dunkeld is steeped in history and we are proud to be the caretakers for such a wonderful collection of historical documents, photographs and artefacts relating to the area.
Over the past few years we have significantly outgrown our space due to the increase in visitors and acquisitions.
One of our most enjoyable experiences has been working with some amazing young people through the Kickstart and Young Person's Guarantee schemes. This work has altered our future plans, with the employment of our first Apprentice, and we hope to gain further Internships.

Our history ....

In 1994 members of the ‘Friends of Dunkeld Cathedral’, who were enthusiastic amateur historians, refurbished the museum within the Chapter House of Dunkeld Cathedral and ‘The Chapter House Museum Trust’ was established.

In 1995 they established an archive in rooms above the museum, gathering documents, photographs, research and memorabilia relating to the local area, creating the amazing collection that exists today. A collection that grows on a weekly basis !

In 1999 the regimental museum of the Scottish Horse closed, which had been housed within Culloden House since the 50’s. Museum objects were disbursed but the archive documents themselves very nearly (literally) ended up in a skip ! If it hadn’t been for the interception by two of the volunteers at the time, this exceptionally unique and important collection would have been lost forever.
As the collection grew, and popularity built, access to the archive became an issue as a stone spiral staircase had to be climbed. Damp was also an ongoing problem. The answer to this problem was to purchase the old toilet block at 12 The Cross, Dunkeld. After extensive fundraising and refurbishment, a purpose built archive store and public room was the result.

Ten years on though we have a bigger problem. A major lack of space !
In 2021, the Covid Pandemic closed the Museum and Archive. This did not deter the volunteers though. They pursued funding from the Army Museum’s Ogilby Trust, not only to digitise their regimental collection, but to fund an employee. This enabled us to pursue further funding to purchase valuable assets such as digitisation equipment, digital screens, new I.T., contactless donation boxes, and stock to set up a new shop enterprise. It also enabled us, once we re-opened, to have the archive building open to the public Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm, instead of the previous three mornings per week.

Having a manager has opened up many new possibilities which has made the organisation much stronger and it’s future sustainability looks promising.
An example is the amazing experience we had working with the governments Kickstart Scheme, which was brought in during the Covid pandemic to help young people age 18 to 23 gain 6 months valuable work experience.
Our first employee through this scheme was Michael. He didn’t really want to work in a museum as he wanted to be an actor, but he did have a genuine interest in history. Instead of just giving him ‘museum’ related jobs to do, we decided to create a project that would assist Michael in pursuing his chosen career, but which also created an amazing new way of telling one of the many fascinating stories the archive holds. By using Michaels funding to employ a Street Theatre Production Company to mentor him, Michael;

• Researched the story
• Wrote the script
• Sourced props and other actors
• Drew up contracts
• Dealt with the budget
• Designed the posters
• Sold the tickets
• And, was the lead role

The Street Theatre Production of ‘Dundonnachie & the Dunkeld Bridge Toll Riots of 1868’ was created and recorded for posterity. This amazing production is available to view on our YouTube channel - https://youtu.be/cvehud43Uao
Our second young person to join our team was Steven. He had left University with a degree in animation just before the pandemic. His confidence grew tremendously during his time with us and his amazing talent led to the creation of an animated version of the Bridge Toll Riots, bringing the story to life for children to enjoy. This animation was also published in a book which we sell in our small shop. The Royal School of Dunkeld were given a presentation by Steven where the children learned all about being an animator, and we gifted copies of the book for each of the classes. Again, this can be viewed on our YouTube channel - https://youtu.be/VK76uFReq4c

Our third young person was Iman, originally from Bosnia, who had only been in the country for three years. She was on her gap year before starting her degree course in Art at Duncan of Jordanstone. Another exceptionally talented artist, we arranged mentoring for her from Mridula Basi from the Birnam Studio to help Iman find her feet as an artist. Iman went on to create 6 beautiful paintings for us which we displayed in a mini art exhibition and had cards and prints made to sell in our shop. Also, 3 amazing murals for our hallway were created. Her confidence grew whilst working in the archive and she successfully applied to The Discovery Point in Dundee for a front-of-house summer job before heading to University.

Our final Kickstarter was Ross. He was extremely interested in our regimental collection and thanks to the funding given to these young people, successfully attended a museum curators course through the National Army Museum. cHe left the archive a lot more focused on his future and planned to return to finish his degree, but with a slight change towards ‘history’.

We went on to work with Perth and Kinross Council’s Young Person’s Guarantee scheme who funded two posts. This scheme enabled us to offer Steven a further 6 months work where he successfully gave a presentation to the National Trust with a view to creating a children’s Tree Trail in Stanley Hill park using QR codes linking to animated ‘tree characters’ who tells the viewer how and when they came to be in Dunkeld.

The second YPG employee was Daria. Daria has, amongst other disabilities, a severe sight impairment. Daria truly inspired us to pursue plans to become as accessible as possible, which is something we intend to fully embrace as part of our refurbishment. Daria struggled to see small objects within museums which were displayed behind glass. The archive came up with a solution and successfully gained funding from the Gannochy Trust and SSE/Griffin Community Windfarm Fund to create a ‘Museum for the Visually Impaired’. By creating 3D objects using photography, we plan to display these images on our digital screen within the archive to enable users to enlarge the objects and therefore see details much easier. This funding is also enabling us to create monthly online exhibitions, using these 3D images, which can therefore be accessed by people far and wide who may not be able to visit Dunkeld in person. As part of Daria’s job in the archive, she was heavily involved with ‘Vocal Eyes’ and their project of assessing museum web sites which led to a report on accessibility. This work really helped us to understand all the different types of barriers disabled people face when visiting a museum.

Over the last few years the archive has attracted many new volunteers who are invaluable to the running of the organisation. One of these volunteers, Imogen Bell, who completed her degree in Ancient History last year, is now employed and has just begun her ‘Museum and Galleries Technician Apprenticeship’ through Museum Galleries Scotland. Imogen is also overseeing the 3D object and online exhibition project.

Last year we had our first Living History weekend event as part of the Jubilee celebrations. Re-enactments, exhibitions and concerts filled Dunkeld with history and was a huge success. This years event will be held on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July with many re-enactment groups in Stanley Hill park, an exhibition on photography in the archive, a demonstration of Victorian photography in the Chanonry, three concerts in Birnam Arts and one in the Cathedral. The park and archive are free to enter, although all concerts and the photographic display will be ticketed. Money raised from the event will enable us to host it annually. This event not only raises our profile but also boosts tourism and the local economy.

So, plans for our future …….

This year we are also;
• Starting a Young Archaeologist Club
• Offering work experience to Duke of Edinburgh Award participants
• Continuing working with older members of the community with our Oral History recording project
• Hosting our annual Living History event on the 29th and 30th July
• Hosting many exhibitions including at the The Niel Gow Festival, Birnam Highland Games, Birnam Book Festival and the Scottish Archaeology month.
• We were lucky enough to be chosen by the Scottish Council on Archaeology to be a case study for them – ‘A year in the life of an archive’. Their first blog is live - https://www.scottisharchives.org.uk/community-archives/a-year-in-the-life-of-a-community-archive/

We hope to gain funding for;
• The creation of a children’s version of the Blue Plaque Heritage Trail
• The James MacIntosh project – research into writing a book about James and his family and publishing his music, with a concert and exhibition

And then there’s the extension and redevelopment plans …….
Which is why we need your support:

Space –

Our archive collection is growing weekly and with the impending arrival of a huge amount of photographs, cinefilm and documents from the local primary school and golf club, we really don’t know where we are going to put everything !
Our toilet has turned into a general store cupboard.

We had the pleasure of hosting the local Creative Writing group last year who ended up being crammed at one end of the public room, with visitors milling around them.
Locals were very kindly helping us name people on cinefilm footage, but were constantly interrupted by visitors as we all had to be in the same small space.
Because we have attracted many new volunteers, researchers and general visitors, we are finding it difficult to accommodate them due to the lack of work space. We do not wish to discourage any of these people.

Dunkeld does not have a Tourist Information Office anymore and we would like to take advantage of this by offering that service. Visitors still want that personal touch and local knowledge and advice. This helps attract visitors into our building.
Our shop is an important source of revenue for us but there is a lack of display space.
Bus tour visitors want to come into our building but they do not all fit in at once so it puts them off staying for any length of time.
We struggle to keep the humidity control at a constant level due to the need for using our archive room as office space.
Our new Young Archaeologist Club will have to be kept at a maximum of ten children due to the lack of space.
We cannot display all the paintings/etchings or artefacts we would like to due to the lack of space.

Our plans –

To remove the inner wall and toilet from the ground floor and create a much more interesting and engaging space for the visitors to Dunkeld with more display cases, a designated shop area, and children’s interactive space.
Build a second floor with accessible access. This floor would contain a fire/water proof locked room with environmental controls to house our collection, with rack-line storage to greatly increase our capacity. A staff toilet and small kitchen area. A large research room with many workstations for volunteers and researchers. A designated quiet place with comfortable seating for volunteers to take locals to record oral history.

Our ultimate aim is to create a better resource for both locals and visitors and to enable us to become financially sustainable.


Donate

Donations 

  • Anonymous
    • £30 
    • 5 mos
  • Claire Carley
    • £10 
    • 5 mos
  • Steven HUNTER
    • £10 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous
    • £20 
    • 5 mos
  • Char Mason
    • £200 
    • 9 mos
Donate

Organizer

Dunkeld Chapter House Museum and Archive Trust
 
Registered nonprofit
Donations eligible for Gift Aid.

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