Glencoe Folk Museum redevelopment work gathers pace

DESIGN work has been described as ‘rapidly advancing’ on Glencoe Folk Museum’s £1.3 million lottery-funded redevelopment, scheduled to open next year.

Peter Drummond Architects and exhibition designers, Mather & Co, are working with staff and the community to create a ‘vibrant’ attraction that retains the traditional look and charm of the original.

Founded in the 1960s, the museum holds over 6,000 artefacts and chronicles daily life in the Glencoe area between the 17th and 21st centuries, telling stories relating to themes such as industry, conflict, childhood and sport, as well as Jacobite uprisings, Clan history and of course the Massacre of Glencoe.

The redevelopment plans include creating a new building at the back of the museum’s listed cottages, featuring a reception area, gift shop and exhibition space. Improving visitor access is also a priority, along with improving the display conditions of the more vulnerable objects in the collection.

A new projection and audio feature will place visitors in a MacDonald cottage on the night of the Massacre of Glencoe. This exhibition will aim to bring to life the personal stories of the massacre and give a clear understanding of the religious, political, and cultural environment that allowed the atrocity to take place.

Project director David Rounce said, “There’s a lot of work ahead, including fundraising and shortly seeking planning permission, but we’re well on track to make a museum that will be a real hub for local heritage – bringing Glencoe’s unique history to life for the community and our visitors from around the globe.”

The redevelopment will also restore the museum’s listed 18th century cottages, said to be the only surviving genuine heather-thatched structures in the area. Funding from the Pilgrim Trust has been secured to renew the thatch and help the museum ensure its preservation. It is planned to complement this traditional natural roof with a new ‘living’ roof on the extension.

Curator Catriona Davidson added, “We’ve been talking about this project since I started working here over five years ago, so it’s really exciting to finally be able to share our plans as everything comes together! Behind the scenes we’re busy researching, choosing artefacts and gathering stories.

“We’ve also been running community consultation sessions – we really want our museum to reflect the community that created it so it’s important to us that we are sharing as many local voices as possible.”