Ar­gylls ap­peal

The Oban Times - - Front Page -

THE Argyll and Suther­land High­landers mu­seum is ap­peal­ing to old sol­diers in the Oban area to take part in a ground­break­ing his­tory project.

THE Argyll and Suther­land High­landers Reg­i­men­tal Mu­seum at Stir­ling Cas­tle is ap­peal­ing to old sol­diers in the Oban area to share their ex­pe­ri­ences, mem­o­ries and doc­u­ments with the mu­seum as part of a ground­break­ing project to pre­serve them for pos­ter­ity.

The mu­seum and the reg­i­men­tal as­so­ci­a­tion have plans to cre­ate a unique ‘liv­ing his­tory’ ar­chive, in which vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies and de­scen­dants who served in the reg­i­ment since the Korean War (1950-53) can cap­ture the re­al­ity of life with the Ar­gylls through oral and video his­tory.

The cel­e­brated mu­seum is mak­ing the ap­peal as it pre­pares for a ma­jor trans­for­ma­tion, sup­ported by the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund, in or­der to be­come ‘a new kind of mu­seum of Scots mil­i­tary her­itage for the 21st cen­tury’, and is look­ing for vol­un­teers to sup­port the project.

As part of the re­newal and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme, the mu­seum wants for­mer sol­diers, mem­bers of the as­so­ci­a­tion and their fam­i­lies to get in con­tact to tell their sto­ries and to share their let­ters, mem­o­ries and arte­facts.

With a £4 mil­lion build­ing and dis­play re­newal pro­gramme al­ready in mo­tion, the new mu­seum is set to open in 2019.

It will aim to com­mem­o­rate the his­tory and sac­ri­fice of the great Scot­tish reg­i­ment, whose bat­tle hon­ours in­clude Balaklava, the In­dian Mutiny, the Boer War, two world wars and the Korean War in the con­text of their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in cen­tral Scot­land, in­clud­ing Oban and sur­round­ing area, from where thou­sands of young men joined the Ar­gylls in war and peace.

Rob Lay­den, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Argyll and Suther­land High­landers Mu­seum, said: ‘One of the ob­jects is to un­der­stand what is out there, what her­itage ex­ists within the com­mu­nity that can be used to tell the Ar­gylls’ story. We want to record, give ad­vice and, with the ap­pro­pri­ate per­mis­sion, use them to tell the reg­i­ment’s story both at Stir­ling Cas­tle and in the Oban and north Argyll com­mu­nity.

‘It’s about get­ting her­itage back into the com­mu­nity. Part of HLF fund­ing is about her­itage, com­mu­nity and peo­ple. We want a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what re­sources are out there.

‘With the help of the reg­i­men­tal as­so­ci­a­tion, which is em­bed­ded in the mu­seum, we are look­ing for peo­ple to vol­un­teer and to come in and help us make a record of all things Argyll-re­lated. Be­cause of the geo­graphic spread of the Ar­gylls’ com­mu­nity across cen­tral Scot­land – from Clack­man­nan­shire to the is­lands – it is up to us to be proac­tive and to take the mu­seum out to where the reg­i­men­tal con­nec­tions are.

‘We also want to col­lab­o­rate with lo­cal com­mu­nity groups, by pro­vid­ing ad­di­tional ma­te­rial, plus help and ad­vice on con­ser­va­tion, both in gen­eral and in re­la­tion to spe­cific ex­hi­bi­tions. We have a good record in this area – for ex­am­ple, work­ing with He­lens­burgh Her­itage to or­gan­ise ex­hi­bi­tions in the lo­cal li­brary there.’

Jim Tilly, sec­re­tary of the Argyll and Suther­land High­landers Reg­i­men­tal As­so­ci­a­tion, added: ‘We have a su­perla­tive col­lec­tion here at the mu­seum but there are gaps. We want the whole story to be told. For ex­am­ple, we don’t yet fully cover episodes like the peace-keep­ing op­er­a­tion in North­ern Ire­land, the reg­i­ment’s long­est en­gage­ment, which lasted the 1960s to the 2000s.

‘There’s a lot of in­for­ma­tion and sto­ries out there, not just with for­mer sol­diers but with their friends and fam­i­lies. We would like to have more in­ter­ac­tion with the pub­lic so we have that upto-date ma­te­rial in the mu­seum. We’d love them to share it with us so we can put it all out there.’

The mu­seum re­newal pro­gramme will be part-funded by the Thin Red Line Ap­peal, un­der the pa­tron­age of HRH The Earl of Strat­hearn, as Prince Wil­liam, the Duke of Cam­bridge is known in Scot­land. The to­tal cost of the project is es­ti­mated at around £4 mil­lion.

Do you have mem­o­ries, sto­ries, pho­to­graphs, arte­facts or other mil­i­taria re­lated to the Argyll and Suther­land High­landers you would like to share with the Ar­gylls mu­seum? Con­tact the mu­seum at mu­seum@ar­ or write to The Argyll and Suther­land High­landers Reg­i­men­tal Mu­seum, The Cas­tle, Stir­ling FK8 1EH, or call 01786 475165.

It’s about get­ting her­itage back into the com­mu­nity” Rob Lay­den

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