The Glencoe and North Lorne Folk Museum by Barbara Fairweather FSA Scot

The Clan Donald Society of Edinburgh have kindly asked me to write a short article about the Museum in Glencoe for their forthcoming Clan Donald Magazine. We do have the pleasure of meeting many Clan Donald members through the year, and this year we were visited by Glengarry, Clanranald, and his son, and later by a lady descendant of Napoleon’s Marshal MacDonald. We have had visits from several of the Commissioners of Clan Donald USA and elsewhere and these included Mr Ellice McDonald of Delaware.

Already there are plans for 1984. Among other improvements and additions we have ordered a model of the old coach which took tourists off the boat at Ballachulish pier and drove them down the Glen. We do have the original steps which belonged to one of these coaches and we have a fine pair of coach lamps and a coach horn.

The area where we now display our ploughs, harrows, and other farm implements will be roofed allowing the exhibits to stay there all winter and making it possible to put up information and photos beside them.

With the help of Glasgow University Museum (The Hunterian) we are getting some extra information on the origin of slate. Our joiner’s tools are to be mounted on a board and beside each tool will be an example of the work done by it.

We plan anew showcase to show our shinty collection of sticks and old photos of the game to better advantage. Nearby will be a collection of Victorian photos and cameras. So much for the future.

Looking back through 1983 perhaps one of the most exciting days was towards the end of the season when Mr Ellice McDonald with a photographic crew came to make a video-tape recording of the Museum. I had not realised the work this would mean, but the crew altered the layout of the Museum so that Ellice and I sat at each side of the fire just below the large brass nameplate of the engine Clan Macdonald kindly donated by the Glasgow Association. We talked on various points of the Museum and the Clan. Luckily, as it was on the last week of being open, very few visitors came in and the few who did were so interested in the camera work that they did not mind missing a part of the exhibition. When we were finished in the Museum the crew put all to rights again and then we moved to the Monument (it is not far from the Museum). There further photos were taken. In all the crew arrived at 11 a.m. and finished about 4.30 p.m. They seemed pleased with the result. The day was wet and misty so they omitted a visit to the Pass which they had planned.

Clan Donald of Australia have kindly asked me for an article for their magazine, and I am in correspondence with MacDonalds in New Zealand and on the Continent. From New Zealand I got some very interesting information about a shepherd who lived in Glencoe and emigrated to New Zealand and we have his account of the sail. This will be on show next season.

Apart from the Museum I am interested in the 1745 Association and am editor of our “quarterly notes”. This autumn the Association will be sending to the press for publication in the spring a list of the army of Prince Charles Edward. It has been done Clan by Clan and the MacDonald regiments have been written up by Norman H. MacDonald your secretary. The book will cost approximately Ł12.50.

The Museum published one book this year A Guide to the Glencoe Museum at 50p, and three new postcards of the area. Our numbers were down because of the hot summer, people on holiday in general do not come into a Museum on a fine day; that is kept for a wet day when all else fails. This is general with all museums. We have tried evening entertainments but if it is fine people would rather be out unless the midges are bad, and if it is wet they do not want to leave their hotel or accommodation. However, though we had fewer visitors there was “guid gear in sma’ numbers” and we did enjoy those who came in 1983.