Staff & Volunteers
Gairloch & District Heritage Company Ltd is responsible for Gairloch Museum. The Board members are all volunteers who live in the parish. We don’t just go to meetings, but are all ‘hands-on’ when it comes to getting the jobs done. You can see who we are and what we do by reading the Minutes in the Board Matters section.
Dr Karen Buchanan
Karen has been Curator at Gairloch Museum since 2013. She is also a Director and sits on the Museum Board. She is responsible for the Museum’s collections and displays and its events and outreach programmes. Her job also involves aspects of the strategic management of the museum. As a trained archivist and former academic researcher, Karen particularly enjoys researching and documenting the collections and often wishes she had more time to dedicate to this aspect of the job.
Karen has an academic background in Tourism Marketing with a PhD in Consumer Behaviour - both useful in raising the profile of a small, independent museum. Tha i ag ionnsachadh Gàidhlig le Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean. (She is currently undertaking an undergraduate degree with UHI (West Highland College) in Gaelic language and culture and the history of the Highlands and Islands). The course has been invaluable in giving her the contextual knowledge she requires to understand and interpret Gairloch Museum's collection.
In her spare time Karen spins, weaves and knits for the Museum shop. She can often be found wandering the hills of Wester Ross.
Events and Outreach Coordinator
Jen is responsible for creating all sorts of events and opportunities for the public to come together at the Museum. She has many years of experience as a museum professional, working on events and exhibitions for the Museums & Special Collections at the University of Aberdeen and previously at Nuneaton Museum, Columbia College Chicago, Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries and Bolton Museum & Art Gallery. She divides her week between Gairloch and her family home in a small fishing village in Aberdeenshire.
Front of House and Marketing
Eilidh has been working with the Museum since our Art Fund Museum of the Year Award announcement in 2020. Born and brought up in Gairloch, Eilidh’s career has led her from journalism to education, through the environmental sector to the arts. She’s looking forward to welcoming new and familiar faces through the doors of Gairloch Museum.
Front of House and Volunteers Coordinator
Barbara Mackenzie was born and brought up in Port Henderson. After attending Dingwall Academy, she trained as a nurse and lived and worked in Glasgow with one spell back north at the Northern Infirmary on the banks of the River Ness. She moved back to Gairloch to the family croft in 2013 and, though busy with pigs and pets, began volunteering at our old museum venue. She has since stepped up to help run our front of house team in the bunker and is often joined on our online meetings by Percy, her blue roan cocker spaniel. Anybody visiting the museum who wants to try out or learn a few Gaelic phrases, Barbara will be happy to help.
Front of House
Brought up in the West Midlands Ally now lives in Aultbea, and has been a visitor to the area all of his life. He has a rich and varied background, spending three years in the Amazon, working on a community project followed by a decade on the railways, including a spell as a station announcer. More recently, he has turned his capable hands to gardening. Ally enjoys reading and hearing stories about folklore, especially fairies and second sight. His ancestors go back many generations in the Loch Ewe area and he has been busy trying to piece together their history and learn more about their lives. In his spare time Ally likes to kayak, walk the hills and enjoys taking pictures of the barn owls that he feels incredibly lucky to have living next door.
Sally begun her career in the hospitality sector at Shieldaig Lodge in the 1980s and has since run her own catering business, managed the Terrace Café at the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh and was employed by the National Trust for Scotland at Bannockburn Heritage Centre. Brought up in Edinburgh, Sally's no stranger to Gairloch, her family holidayed in Laide, in happy proximity to her grandparents at Little Gruinard.
Without our army of ever-willing volunteers, the Museum would simply not exist, let alone open. Just for starters, volunteers welcome visitors, order the books, research genealogy queries, help with the record-keeping, translate Gaelic, polish the lighthouse lens, take guided walks, give talks, write booklets, cut the grass … in fact, do absolutely anything and everything, not to forget being the best bakers in town! In the film theatre you can hear some of them share their stories and see their photos of how life has changed since the AAOR was built in the early 1950s.
More than 120 local people helped make the ‘new Museum’ project a success. The efforts were recognised when we were honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Since we opened, many more people have offered their time and energies. If you would like to join us, then please let us know.