MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE BOARD OF THE GAIRLOCH & DISTRICT HERITAGE COMPANY LTD
04 Aug 2020
Roy Macintyre; Karen Buchanan; Pauline Butler; Jeremy Fenton; Liz Forrest; Nevis Hulme; Irene
Macintyre; Anne MacLennan; Allan Templeton.
Stuart Caddell; Susan Maclean; Willie Macrae; Marcus Simpson.
Anne was welcomed to her first Board meeting, following her election as a Director at the AGM.
1. Conflicts of Interest
No potential conflict of interest was declared with respect to the Agenda.
2. Election of Officers of the Company
i) In accordance with Articles 36 & 54, officers were duly nominated, seconded and appointed:
Chairman: Roy Macintyre; Vice chairman: Jeremy Fenton; Secretary: Pauline Butler.
ii) Now that Dugald has resigned, after holding the fort for so much longer than he intended, and with no volunteer coming forward to take on the duties of Treasurer, Roy’s proposal that David Rae take on the administration of our company finances, for an annual fee, was seconded by Allan and Liz, and agreed by all. Dugald will support him during a handover period. David will provide information for each Board meeting and deal with enquiries relating to expenditure and income for funding applications. In the short term, Roy will present David’s financial reports to the Board. The situation will be reviewed in a year’s time.
The Board wishes to put on record our gratitude for Dugald’s commitment and wise judgement throughout the challenging five years he served as our Treasurer.
iii) It was agreed that Jean Ross be co-opted as a Board member, and that Ben Thomas be invited to attend Board meetings whenever he is able.
3. Minutes of the (correspondence) Board meeting of 23 March and Reports to the Board of 27 May & 27 July
The minutes of the 23 March meeting were agreed to be a correct record, proposed by Allan and seconded by Irene. The Report of 27 May, circulated to all Board members, was accepted as a true record of the prevailing situation, as was the Chairman’s 18 June update for the AGM, with further input from Pauline as of 27 July.
i) We still await responses to the applications Pauline has made for grants towards the ‘outdoors museum’ project.
ii) We have been successful in our request to the Heritage Emergency Fund (NLHF) for £9,900 towards the Covid-19-related costs of reopening, including implementation of necessary safeguarding requirements, and to employ staff for additional hours to support visitor management and volunteers on duty.
iii) In the circumstances, implementation of the Reserves policy has had to be suspended.
iv) Planning consent has been granted by Highland Council for the external works.
v) The 2020 AGM planned for 6 April had to be postponed owing to Covid-19 lockdown. In order to hold the AGM within the time period allowed under our Articles of Association, Pauline managed a ‘correspondence’ AGM, which closed on 14 July, and was ‘attended’ by 99 people. She has circulated some of the overwhelmingly positive comments made by participants and was thanked for her efforts.
vi) The new membership procedures appear to be working well and numbers have held up. Most renewals and new joiners are using the online system, some prefer paper.
5. Financial report
Roy has collated and circulated information with respect to visitor numbers and retail income for the first eight days of opening, (from 22 July), which was quite pleasing, given all the constraints. We have a healthy-looking bank balance at present, but a number of substantial payments are due, including of the final retention payment and towards redemption of our AHF loan. It also includes the grant paid up-front for the archaeology trail development, and the balance of our emergency grant from MGS for operational costs.
It is intended to commit the expenditure to fit out the café soon. We have been fortunate to receive another generous donation towards this from the Ravensdale Trust. So, we must continue to be careful and creative.
6. Curator’s Report
Karen presented her Report covering: Building and grounds; Administration; Collections; Interpretation and displays; Education and training; Funding; Miscellaneous.
i) We agreed that it would be of mutual benefit for Karen to take on the role of Accreditation mentor for Applecross Heritage Centre.
ii) Where best to store the dismantled stable and the wooden roller will be explored with respect both to location and costs.
iii) The boats must be cleared from the steading site imminently. The coble might be removable, and possibilities are under consideration, but it seems likely that only parts of the other two boats can be salvaged.
iv) Karen is liaising with Simpsons who have been requested to quote for the relocation of the lighthouse foghorn. This needs to be progressed in the very near future.
v) Karen would welcome ideas as to the appropriate ‘disposal’ of the surplus Gaelic bibles in the Library.
vi) In response to her enquiry, it was agreed that Karen should continue to collate the hours given by Museum volunteers, for inclusion in reports and funding applications where required.
7. Commercial and retail operations
i) Reports from recent meetings of the COG have been circulated. We await the essential completion and hygiene certificates for the café. Expressions of interest in the post of café manager will be advertised both via social media and GDT.
ii) Further refinements of the EPOS system are needed to meet our reporting needs and it is hoped these can be undertaken in the near future. There are also issues to resolve with respect to the card machine. Marcus has implemented the VAT reductions relevant to our operations, for which he was thanked.
iii) After two weeks of opening Wednesdays-Saturdays, the additional HEF funding enables us to open on Tuesdays also from 4 August. As our available volunteer capacity will now be stretched, given the return to school of some younger helpers, we will use social media to invite new recruits to support reception and room steward duties.
iv) Allan has circulated the notes of the most recent Exhibitions Planning Group. After discussions with the intended exhibitors, the programme for the upstairs Gallery for the rest of 2020 and all 2021 is complete; arrangements are being finalised for an HES photographic exhibition to be installed in the downstairs exhibition area in mid-August.
8. Any Other Business
i) The Scottish Civic Trust is scheduled to announce its ‘My Place’ winners (we know we are on the shortlist) in September and the Art Fund has recently announced that they are changing the format of their Museum of the Year Award, just for this year, to showcase five joint winners, to be made public in October.
ii) Karen explained the circumstances whereby Marcus had been contacted by our security company in the middle of the night, following the internet failing at the Museum. Usually she responds, having been similarly inconvenienced a number of times, but had not been able to, on this occasion. It was agreed to review the list of keyholders submitted to the alarm signalling company.
9. Date of next meeting
The next meeting is scheduled for 23 September 2020 at 4.30 pm. There was some discussion about how best to ensure that all Board members can participate, as ‘Zoom’ isn’t for everyone. A decision as to venue and format will be taken nearer the time.
There being no other business, the meeting ended at 4.40 pm.
CURATOR'S REPORT 04.08.20
Building and Grounds
I have requested an update from Simpsons and LDN about the ventilation and heating issues in the library and activity room.
Most administrative activities recently undertaken have been a function of the task force for reopening the museum and include the creation of a reopening action plan and check list, the creation of signs and new leaflets, updating the website and ensuring all marketing channels have been informed about revised opening hours and booking systems. The film on our website which provides information about visiting the museum has been viewed by almost 450 people since it was published.
We have dealt with a number of archive enquiries remotely.
Most of the large objects from the old museum have now been removed and decanted to the new building. I am liaising with Simpsons of Beauly about moving the others for us. There are two objects which need to be kept indoors. These cannot be accommodated in the new building and I recommend the purchase of a small storage container to be placed in grounds and used for large objects.
We have made a large archival acquisition which needs to be processed. A number of items have been added to the Handling and Display collection.
The library still needs to be audited and documentation updated on Adlib. There is also a need to appraise the library collection to remove duplicates. In particular, we have a lot of Gaelic bibles, some of which it would be advisable to dispose of.
Interpretation and Displays
There has been no meeting of the Interpretation Team since 28th Feb and this is not currently a priority. However, actions have been completed resulting from the last meeting, such as new labels installed. It is regrettable that the museum design company we employed for our new displays (Campbell & Co. of Edinburgh) has been dissolved as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
We are working with Museums Heritage Highlands on a joint, virtual costume exhibition and on the Highland Objects podcasts.
With John English’s permission, I have put clips from the Otoxo Productions film onto Vimeo. They have been viewed more than 100 times each within a week.
Education and Training
I successfully completed a module in Nationalism and National Identity as part of the BA Gaelic Scotland with a grade of 86%. I have two more classes to complete before I have the final qualification.
I have attended numerous virtual training events during lockdown including an eHive workshop, Pictish Trail webinars and webinars on reopening museums/visitor attractions.
I am working on an application to the Art Fund Respond and Reimagine grant stream which would fund a post for a part time Events, Education and Outreach Coordinator.
I have been asked to assist Applecross Heritage Centre as their Accreditation Mentor
Karen Buchanan (Curator)