News 2012 - Naidheachdain 2012

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October                                               An Dàmhair

The next opportunity to see silversmith Alan Baillie demonstrating silversmithing techniques will be on Saturday 20th October in Cromarty when Cromarty Arts Trust host an afternoon session at the Stables at 2pm. Admission is £3 and refreshments will be provided.

Open Day on Saturday 6th October

An Open Day will be held at the museum on Saturday 6th October when you are invited to see the results ofour Heritage Lottery Fund: Tain Silver Collection project, and view the new exhibition. To make the day even more special Highland silversmiths, Alan Baillie and Lucy Woodley, will be demonstrating the ancient art of silversmithing. The museum will be open from 11am -4pm.

Alan & Joan with the silver cup


Joan Ross presented the silver cup, made by Alan, to the museumatthe evening event on the 27th of September. It was commissioned in the memory of Wallace Ross and can be seen in the new exhibition.


September                                             An Foghair


The Tain Silver Collection in Tain & District Museum

In 2008 the Heritage Lottery Fund launched a scheme called Collecting Cultures. Its aim was to enable museums to develop and research specific collection areas and to increase public involvement. Tain & District Museum was one of three museums in Scotland that received funding under the scheme. "The Tain Silver Collection" project was to develop the collection of 18th and 19th century silver made in Tain.

The project has allowed pieces of Tain silver to be added to the unique collection , new research to be undertaken, as well as seeing the upgrade of the display area. Two short films have been commissioned to explain the history and silver making processes and, supported by the fine arts auction house, Lyon & Turnbull, the definitive Tain Silver Catalogue has been produced. This high quality publication brings together everything now know about the Tain silversmiths with fully illustrated descriptions of all the pieces in the museum, and important examples of their work elsewhere.

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:

"Collecting Cultures was a ground-breaking scheme for the Heritage Lottery Fund allowing museums to seek out and purchase what they needed to develop and build their collections strategically. Tain & District Museum is to be congratulated on how they have done that. They now have a wonderful collection of local silver reflecting the history and identity of the town, to be enjoyed by everyone."

On Thursday 27th September the public phase of the innovative projectwas launched when George Dalgleish, Keeper, Scottish History and Archaeology, National Museums Scotland, opened the new exhibition in Tain & District Museum.

guests at exhibition launch September 2012

Colin Fraser,representing Lyon & Turnbull, introduced the new Tain Silver Catalogue and congratulated the museumonthe wonderful new display.

Estelle, George, Alistair and Colin

The catalogue can be bought online from our Museum Shop.

On Thursday evening some 80 guests assembled in Tain Parish church hall to hear George deliver a most interesting and informative talk on Scottish Silver but beforehe began he gave a toastto the success of the project from thesilver cupwhich is the subject of the film "Art of the Silversmith". The evening closed with the two films being shown to the public for the first time.


August                                                 An Lùnasdal

The art exhibition by Grant Boyd was launched in style on Saturday. The glorious sunny day added an extra dimension to the venue as the sunshine streamed in through the stain glass windows and guests viewed Grant's work. The exhibiton will run from Monday 20th August - Saturday 1st September, 10am - 4.30pm (not Sunday)







It is with sadness that we have to report that long time volunteer and stalwart of the museum, Wattie Louden, has passed away. He will be missed.


The Clan Ross tent erectors were up early to make sure that Clan Ross was once againrepresented at Tain Highland Gathering. It was a lovely day (no rain!) with a good crowd and excellent entertainment. This year we were joined by Inverness silversmith, Alan Baillie who was on hand to demonstrate some silver making techniques.

David, Alistair and KatieMichael, Morga, Alan, Alistair and Margaret






The games got underway with the traditional eventsand the museum shop was well supported.






We were well supported by members of the Ross clan. It was great to see young James Ross accompanied by his grandfather Iain from Dornoch.Tain man, Willaim Ross, had a good blether with Morag. Andrew and Edith made off without a picture being taken.






Iain (Murd) Ross and his wife, Ray came in to say hello. Iain is a former Games chieftain.

This years Games chieftain, Bill Lumsden,called in to see us, as did another former chieftain Gordon Forbes. They are seen here with Alistair Jupp, Tain & District Trust chairman and Derek Louden, a museum Trustee.

Alistair, Bill and DerekAlistair, Gordie and Derek






July                                                      An t-Iuchar

Tain artist, Grant Boyd is busy preparing for his upcoming exhibition in St Duthus Collegiate Church. His exhibition is part of Tain & District Museum's programme of events and will run from Monday,20th August - Saturday 1st September, 10am - 4.30pm (not Sundays).

Grant has a long association with the museum. He was responsible for creating the striking paintings in the Pilgrimage gallery which have helped visitors from home and across the world understand the history of the ancient burgh.

The filming has started for our two new films about the Tain silver collection. Mike Herd, award winning film maker,has spent the past few days gathering the shots needed before he starts the editing process. Highland silversmith, Alan Baillie, has been helping us with the Heritage Lottery Fund: Collecting Cultures project as well. We commissioned him to make a silver cup based on one in the collection. Mike filmed him at work and the results will be on show in October.

It was an exciting time when Andrew Robinson and his Showguard team installed our new display cases in the museum this month. The new cases are another stage in our Heritage Lottery Fund: Collecting Cultures project and perfect for displaying the new acquisitions the project has allowed us to make.


June                                                An t-Og-mhios


Bedford's Highlanders

To compliment one ofour new displays on World War One Tain & District Museum held an illustrated talk by Richard Galley entitled "Bedford's Highlanders - The Scottish Invasion of Bedfordshire August 1914". Richard travelled up from Bedford, accompanied by his wife Christine,to deliver a fascianatinglecture covering the period August 1914 - May 1915, taking the Highland Division from mobilisation at the outbreak of war through its 9 months occupation of Bedford, to the eventual departure for the Western Front. Richard explored the impact on the sleepy English market town as 20,000 Scottish soldiers descended on it in the space of 3 days. He covered what the Highland Division was, how it came to be in Bedford and what it did while it was there. His talk was illustrated with a large number of photographs and even a newsreel. The presentation was held on Thursday 14th June in Tain Parish Church Hall .The museum exhibition will be on show until the end of October.

Donnie Macleod, Richard Galley and Alistair Jupp

Donnie Macleod, Richard Galleyand Alistair Jupp.

Richard with some of his audience

Richard with some of his audience.


May                                                       An Ceitean

TAIN & District Museum's latest publication, "Tain, Tarbat Ness and the Duke, 1833" by local historian Hamish Mackenzie was launched in style on Saturday (26th May) before an invited audience. Jamie Stone, former MSP and now a Highland councillor for Tain and Easter Ross, welcomed the publication. Hamish Mackenzie then spoke about some of the characters and places in his book, and his Clan Chief, John Mackenzie, Earl of Cromartie, showed some of the original documents used by the author.

John Mackenzie, Earl of Cromartie, Hamish Mackenzie and Jamie Stone

Tain & District Museum Trust Chairman, Alistair Jupp said "this is an important new publication which brings to light new information and provides an invaluable snapshot on land ownership and life in Easter Ross in 1833. We are proud to publish such an interesting and valuable contribution to our local history."

By 1833 the first Duke and Duchess of Sutherland owned most of the county of Sutherland and had started to acquire land in neighbouring Ross & Cromarty. In that year their "men of business", led by James Loch, found two targets in Easter Ross - first the "New Town of Tain", and then all of the peninsula between Tain and Tarbat Ness. The author has pieced together from original sources the story of these two "proposed accessions" to the Sutherland estate. The story involves a number of colourful characters, many of them well known to local and Highland history, and some of them appearing in a new light. The author tells of the sad consequences of a Sheriff running out of money, political shenanigans in the wake of the Reform Act, a noted Tain benefactor with a penchant for duels, and clandestine missions to the peninsula. One of these missions left a lasting legacy - vivid and previously unpublished descriptions of the fishing village of Portmahomack and of the farms of the area in the age of Improvement.

"Tain, Tarbat Ness and the Duke, 1833" is available online from the Museum Shop and our shop at Tain Through Time for £7.95.


Festival of Museums

Tain & District Museum, once again, took part in the national Festival of Museums event whichwas held on18th-20th May 2012. Festival of Museums is about museums working together to celebrate Scotland's culture while simultaneously highlighting to people how museums and galleries offer great-value days out, year round.

On Friday 18th May we held Our Past in Pictures in the Parish Church hall. A delve into the photographic archives produced a fascinating slideshow of times past in Easter Ross and offered a unique opportunity to view some of the fascinating images of Tain and surrounding area from the early days of photography to more recent times. The evening was a great success with over 70 people attending.

The slideshow begins

On Sunday 20th May the museum threw open its doors and invite the public to view the new 2012 exhibition. The open day, from 11am - 3pm, provided an opportunity for those who find it difficult to visit on weekdays to browse the new displays which cover a wide range of subjects including farming, sport, World Wars One and Two, archaeology and the 1950s. Showing throughout the day was the film of the Queen Mother's visit to Tain for the town's 900th centenary celebrations in 1966. Some 80 people visited throughout the gloriously sunny day.

Watching the 1966 Royal visit.







Watching the 1966 Royal visit in the museum







April                                                      An Giblean


March                                                   Am Màrt

Tain & District Museum volunteers enjoyed a pre season coffee morning to discuss the exciting events planned for the year ahead.







We were delighted to welcome members ofARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands) to a guided tour of the Church, Pilgrimage and Museum just before we opened for the season. They are studying possible Pilgrimage routeways in the Highlands[picture#530#]

We have been busy redecorating the Museum in preparation for the new silver exhibition later in the year. Sheila ispictured here - nosurface was safe from her paintbrush!


Februrary                                              An Gearran

Newly added to our online shop is a collection of short stories by Hamish Ross. Click on Museum Shop on the bar to the left and then head to Books - Local.

Wrongs Hushed Up isacollection of nine stories arising out of wars, ranging from World Wars I & II, the Cold War, Iraq 2003 to West African insurgencies and revelations on Wikileaks. Many of them are set in the Tain area


Hamish grew up in Tain and is a former pupil of Tain Royal Academy. He remembers watching the Liberator bombers flying out of RAF Tain during the Second World War.Hamish has also written three critically aclaimed non-fiction books one of which is Freedom in the Air - A Czech Flyer and his Aircrew Dog. This tells the story of a Czech airman who was stationed in Easter Ross during World War II andhis faithful hound Antis.

Museum Trust chairman, Alistair Jupp has created a fascinating website about those enigmatic Ironage buildings, brochs. Type in "" to your web browser.

After a mild winter Spring has sprunga few weeks early in Tain. The churchyard is full of glorious snowdrops. The churchyard is a picture of tranquility but behind the scenes at the museum we are hard at work preparing for the 2012 season. As well as a complete change of museum exhibits we are also upgrading the Tain Silver display as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund: Collecting Cultures project. We will be posting more about this exciting project later in the year.

Tain Through Time Tower Street, Tain IV19 1DY Scotland IV19 1DY

Tel: 01862 894089