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Thurso Heritage Centre
Web site at www.thursoheritage.com

Museums and Exhibitions  What's On In Caithness



Church Font

Sir William Smith

Pictish Stone

Camera Display

Runic Stone

Room From The Past

Ancient Standing Stone

Model of Yacht

Geology Exhibit

Open Daily
 June - September
Morning 10.00am - 1.00pm
Afternoon 2.00pm - 5.00pm

Located near Thurso Town Hall

Mrs E Angus
1 Oldfield Hill, Thurso. Caithness
01847 892459

Mrs I Corner
Morven, Olrig Street, Thurso. Caithness
01847 892875

Update 14 October 2011

The collections are now housed in the Caithness Horizons Centre formerly the Thurso Town Hall and Carnegie Library in Thurso

April 2006

Thurso Heritage Centre Closed Until New Centre Completed
Closed until the new Caithness Horizons project opens with a new centre at Thurso Town Hall at end of 2007.  All items have gone into storage and will be put back on display in the new Caithness Horizons centre.

14 April 03
Lyn Leet

Thurso Heritage Museum has been located in the former Carnegie Library since the late 1960s, after the library was moved to Davidsonís Lane.

The museum is run by the Thurso Heritage Society, a voluntary body who open it to the public from June to September. The building is owned by the Highland Council. The museum finances itself on the entrance charges.

The current situation
The museum is under threat due to the proposed refurbishment of the building which it occupies, to be carried out by the Highland Council. The proposal is to connect it to the Town Hall in a major refurbishment programme. Both buildings are very neglected and are in urgent need of restoration and modernisation.

There has been a museum in Thurso since Robert Dick, our famous geologist and botanist, established a fossil museum in his house in the 1840s. Thurso Heritage Museum contains an important collection and some of its contents are as follows:

Stone collection, including the Ulbster and Skinnet Pictish stones dating from the 700 AD, fossils, a Runic Cross, a fireplace stone, a marriage stone, Ye Auld Fish Stane, Old St Peterís font, the history of the flagstone industry, a Bronze Age beaker and remains from Achavanich.

Robert Dick the geologist and botanistís collection and tapestry.

Sir John Sinclairís history, The Caithness Fencibles and Regimental flags. Lady Janetís embroidery.

Alexander Bainís electric motor and J Andersonís wireless equipment

Period dresses, uniforms and medals, including a kilt and dirk, bought by Thurso Heritage Society.

Various oil paintings, photographs and other artefacts.

Concerns regarding the collection
Storage ( both during construction work and later)
In order to carry out the proposed alterations it would be necessary to move the collection into storage. It is vital that this is carried out under the supervision of a curator, who needs to be appointed before the project starts. It is also essential that suitable storage is found to preserve this collection as much of it is fragile. Proper storage space must be provided within the new project so that exhibits can be turned around and also be used as a workspace for the curator, both to upgrade exhibits and for carrying out repairs. The proposal to have all the storage off site will not work and would be expensive to operate, involving transport costs with the added risk of damage to artefacts.

The Exhibition Team
Thurso Heritage Society has an exhibits co-ordinator on its committee who would be able to assist the curator in his/or her task with much local knowledge and information on the collection.

A curator is now essential, not only to maintain the collection but also to advise on packing and crating it when it goes into temporary storage and returns to its permanent home. A curator should work with the museum designer so that the right choices are made. Ideally the museum would have the same space as at present. Skilled displays and the use of modern technology would be needed, if it is to be reduced, as this is an important collection and Thursoís heritage must be preserved. Any artefacts which cannot be accommodated should go to a museum with a Charitable Trust status, preferably in Caithness, where they belong. The worst scenario would be for the exhibits to be put into storage and never seen again, as has happened with the Bruce Buildings, the former Wick Museum, now closed to the public.

Many people in Thurso, not just the Thurso Heritage Society, care about what happens to the museumís collection and recognise that it empowers local people with knowledge of their own heritage. It is important to preserve the collection and that the Thurso Heritage Society is involved in the decision making, so that their knowledge is not lost. We hope that the ĎPictish Trailí will bring more visitors to see our Pictish stones.