Festival of Museums!

We're joining in with the national celebration-Festival of Museums!

Festival of Museums is Scotland’s three day Museum festival which consists of over 150 events taking place up and down the country.  The festival is created and coordinated by Museums Galleries Scotland.  It’s safe to say that the Caithness Horizons celebration will be one of the most northerly on Scotland’s mainland. 

On Friday 18th May, volunteers from Mary Ann’s Cottage will be pride of place within the Museum bringing a little bit of the fascinating Dunnet cottage into Thurso.  The volunteers will engage with visitors and tell the story of Mary Ann.  The cottage has opened to the public a month earlier than previous years to accommodate rising demand for their extraordinary display.

On Saturday 19th May, we will throw open the doors of the attraction and welcome visitors and local people of Caithness to enjoy their displays and activities.  Museum entry for one day only will be free of charge and there will be lots of activities on offer. 

Festival of Museums is a brilliant way to really celebrate Museums and inject some fun into our past.  We’re really excited to share some craft activities, games and conversation with people of all ages.

The Museum team of staff and volunteers will offer guided tours and craft activities inspired by the Museum displays.  Pictish Stone rubbings as well as Pictish inspired pebble painting will take place downstairs as well as a display of tablet weaving by volunteer Debbie Prentice who is looking forward to showing this ancient method of creativity.  Team members will help visitors take part in a large scale ancient Viking board game, Hnefatafl a game of strategy not dissimilar to chess.  For those who get the bug for the game, tabletop versions are available in the gift shop.

With the current craze of pebble painting at such height, we’re looking forward to creating some fabulous designs, using the Pictish symbols as our inspiration; I can’t wait to see what designs we come up with.  Once the pebbles are dry, their creators will be encouraged to hide them within the community for others to find and relocate joining in the current town wide pebble treasure hunt.

In the Main exhibition hall, families will enjoy the exhibition displays as well as the fabulous wildlife dress up costumes, jigsaws interactive game and films. 

The Museum cafe will be baking up their usual assortment of treats and savoury delights and are currently running a promotion where customers can enjoy a free piece of their homemade, dairy free shortbread with any purchase of a hot drink.  The promotion is celebrating the launch of the cafe’s new menu. 

Also celebrating Festival of Museums this weekend is our friends at Lyth Arts Centre who are hosting an event with Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archive and a FREE art workshop with Hannah Cambridge of Crafty Little Studio.  Not to mention the fabulous storytelling and crafts event with children's author Alan Temperley at Strathnaver Museum too!


One of our awesome volunteers has written (another!) book

Ian Casstles volunteers with us on a Friday morning and has a significant interest in the Norse history of Caithness.  So much so, that he's written two popular books on the subject!  While Ian is with us on a Friday, he chats with visitors and locals alike encouraging them to learn more about the history of Caithness and it’s people.  ‘The Katanes Saga’ is the second book from Ian who lives in Thurso and is a comprehensive follow up to his first publication ‘The Raven Banner.’  The books feature the chronicles of The Norse History of Caithness. 

Copies can be found in our gift shop, Bews newsagent and Newsbeat in Thurso.  The book costs £10.  If you're not in Thurso but fancy one, why not contact us and we can arrange the best way to get one posted to you.   


Homemade Shortbread on us with any hot drink purchase in our cafe throughout May!

To celebrate the launch of our new cafe menu and our extended coffee menu, we'd like to offer our lovely visitors a free piece of our delicious, homemade, gluten and dairy free shortbread with every hot drinks purchased in May!

The catering team have recently revamped the menu in our cafe area and now offer more vegetarian, gluten and dairy free options.  Many of our home bakes are completely dairy and gluten free.  They've also received training to allow us to extend our coffee menu.  We welcomed a representative from Caffia to our cafe who showed the team how to make the best coffee the machine can make!  We can also now offer ground decaff coffee and are sampling a new hot chocolate.  

This offer is available to customers who hold  a wee token-tokens are available from reception, many of our local shops in town and even when some of our team are out and about chatting with the awesome folk of Thurso and it's visitors.   

Tokens are immediately redeemable in the Gallery cafe until 31st May 2018.  

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Printmaking in the North Exhibition preview

Last night, we welcomed 50 people to the private view of our latest exhibition-Print Making in the North.  The exhibition showcases over 20 artists work from across the North of Scotland.  Work has been submitted from artists with a strong connection to the North of Scotland.  The furthest afield being the Isle of Lewis and Orkney with many being first time contributors to our exhibitions.  The exhibition is on display now until Tuesday 3rd April 2018.  

The exhibition displays work created from many different techniques of printmaking and creates a vastly interesting range of display pieces.  

As well as the work within the gallery being for sale, many of the artists have stocked our gift shop with prints and cards of their work.  

To celebrate the exhibition, local painter and print maker Meg Telfer will teach enthusiastic members of the public about printmaking during two workshops on Saturday 17th March.  If you'd like to book to join us at either the adults or the kids workshop, please get in touch.  Places are limited so no time to spare!

Scottish Society for Northern Studies Conference-April 2018

We're really looking forward to being involved in the Scottish Society for Northern Studies residential conference right here in Thurso from 11th-14th April based at the Pentland Hotel! Here's a brief look at the programme. For more information and to sus out how you can attend, check out the website: https://www.ssns.org.uk/

Beginning with full bellies thanks to the (the best way to do something) on Wednesday 11th April, guests will enjoy a welcome buffet before the sessions begin the next morning.

*Thursday 12th April*

  • 09:30 - Session 1

Andrew Conlon, Glasgow, ‘A.O. Curle: A Wandering Antiquary in Caithness’

Maya Hoole, Historic Environment Scotland, ‘(Re)Discovering Ava: Research Results from a Chalcolithic/Early Bronze Age Beaker Burial, from Achavanich, Caithness’

John Borland, Historic Environment Scotland, ‘Pictish and Early Medieval Sculpture of Caithness and Sutherland’

Oisin Plumb, University of the Highlands and Islands, ‘”Beyond the Range of Human Exploration”: 
Cormac and the “North” in the Seventh Century’

  • 14:00 - Session 2

Andrea Blendl, Institute for Northern Studies at UHI, ‘Rune-Carving in Caithness: Then and Now’

Joanne Howdle, Caithness Horizons,Thurso: New Developments at the Museum’

16:30-18:30 - Reception at Thurso Museum / Caithness Horizons Museum and Art Gallery with guided tour by Joanne Howdle, Curator of Collections-YEY, that's us! :D

*Friday 13th April*

  • 09:30 - Session 3

Linda Ross, University of the Highlands and Islands, ‘Dounreay, People and Place in Caithness: 1954-65’

Catherine Byrne, Wick, ‘Stroma, Island Life in the 20th Century’

Muriel Murray, Castlehill Heritage Centre, ‘The Rise and Fall of the 19th Century Flagstone Industry in Caithness’

  • 14:00 - Session 4 - Open to the Public

Andrew Jennings, University of the Highlands and Islands, ‘The Other Northern Barbarians: A Trope through Time’

Kenny Brophy, University of Glasgow, ‘“Many stanes”: Revisiting the multiple stone rows of northern Scotland”

Colleen Batey, University of Glasgow, ‘Norse Caithness: An Update’

*Saturday 14th April*

  • 09:30-16:30 - Coach Tour

To include Castletown Heritage Centre, Freswick Links and Keiss area broch.

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Our first Community Consultation sessions-January 18'

We invited you, the lovely folk of Caithness to our two community consultation events recently and we're so grateful that over 70 folk came along over two nights.  

The community consultations will become a regular activity at the Museum with the next dates already penciled in for late June.  The event included a guided tour of the Museum with guests being led by Commercial Manager Tracy Dodson and Museum Curator, Joanne Howdle. The proposed changes to the Museum displays were explained in great detail.  We wanted to express our excitement about the vision for the Museum displays and what better way to do that than to bring people in and tell them all about it?!  Joanne has been working hard since the New Year to make immediate additions to the amount of artefacts on display within the building.  On visiting, you’ll see that there are considerably more paintings on display in the foyer and artefacts are in the cafe area too. 
Once the tour of the Museum and Gallery was complete, Joan, (admin, retail and funding) and Marion (admin and Marketing) explained their role within the team.  Joan gave information on the Museum’s conference and events facility, the Education Room and how it can be used by community groups, families and local businesses as Caithness Horizons have a wide range of facilities and equipment available for internal and external hire.  Marion told the group of her marketing role and how she’s been developing the Friends of Caithness Horizons volunteers programme.  Training and encouraging the volunteer group has been amazing and is already proving to be a huge help to the team.

By this point, the groups had earned themselves a cuppa and Catering Manager Lynda Moran was only too happy to oblige with tea, coffee and delicious homemade shortbread.  The groups were then encouraged to chat to the Museum team about their thoughts on the presentation and how organisations and businesses could make better use of the Museum’s facilities.  The Museum is very keen to work alongside businesses and local organisations to offer a wide range of projects and events for the community to enjoy.  It was fabulous to have a natter with the community groups and local businesses, ideas were flying and we’re really looking forward to working on the feedback received.

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We love our Friends of Caithness Horizons volunteers!

We have been overwhelmed by the uptake of their new volunteering programme.  A request for interested volunteers to come forward was advertised just a few days before Christmas and an initial information session was held on 11th January.  Since then, Administration and Marketing officer Marion has been training the eager volunteers.  The volunteers have already proved to be an outstanding asset.  We’re lucky to have people with all sorts of skills and interests join our team and we’re so excited at the possibilities the volunteers offer.

For the time being, the volunteer group are assisting front of house by welcoming visitors and directing them around the Museum.  As time goes on, it is hoped that these volunteers will help the Museum team by offering informative guided tours. 

Since the first session on Tuesday 16th January, the group of 7 volunteers have already banked an amazing 60 voluntary hours which we are thrilled about!  Marion has been in regular contact with Catherine Patterson, Caithness Voluntary Group to seek advice on volunteer best practice and is looking forward to recognising the individuals for their contribution to Caithness Horizons Museum and Art Gallery.  Marion will nominate the volunteers for either a Saltire Award or a Highland Volunteer Award.  The Museum is also working towards achieving its own Volunteering Award-The Volunteer Friendly Award.  If you'd like to get involved then please don't hesitate to contact us and we'll get the ball rolling right away-the more the merrier!

 Janetta Sutherland, Stan George and Bethany Lawrie, three of our Friends of Caithness Horizons Volunteers team

Janetta Sutherland, Stan George and Bethany Lawrie, three of our Friends of Caithness Horizons Volunteers team

Your Museum Needs YOU!

We're hosting two community consultations next week on Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th and we'd love for you to join us.  

We want to tell you all about our plans for 2018 and we'd really like for you to join in the conversation with your own thoughts and ideas so we can create an ongoing programme of activities that provides interesting exhibitions, events and opportunities for our local community, visitors to the area and our local businesses.  

Ever found yourself thinking...

'It'd be great if Caithness Horizons would host/do/exhibit_________'

If you have, then please, please please come along to this consultation event and share your ideas with us! 

On Wednesday 24th January from 5-6.30pm we're encouraging any interested individual or member of a community group/organisation/charity to come along to see how we can work together to suit your needs and ours.  

On Thursday 25th January from 5-6.30 we'd like to see lots of tourism providers and local businesses join us to see our we can compliment one another going forward. 

For all the details, check out our facebook page or contact us to find out more.  

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Calling all printmakers!

Caithness Horizons Museum and Art Gallery is a centre for arts, culture and heritage located on the north coast of Scotland in the most northerly mainland town of Thurso.

The Museum will be running a new programme of monthly exhibitions in its spacious Gallery throughout 2018.

Caithness Horizons would like to call out to printmakers with a link to the north of Scotland who would be interested in submitting up to four pieces of work to be part of a showcase of

Printmaking in the North

The exhibition will take place in March 2018 so time is running out already.

Deadline for submissions will be 12th February. Selected work must be able to be delivered here by Monday 26th February.

All work must be for sale. There will be a charge of £4 per art work or £10 for 4

Commission rate will be 20%

There will also be opportunities for workshop delivery during the exhibition. Please state in your submission if you would be interested in delivering a workshop.

An opening night will take place for the exhibition on Friday 2nd March. The exhibition will also be marketed extensively through social media and all appropriate platforms.

If you are interested in submitting work to this exhibition please email helenmoore@caithnesshorizons.co.uk for a submissions form. All images must be sent along with submissions form in jpeg format.

Caithness Horizons Museum and Art Gallery

Old Town Hall, High Street, Thurso, Caithness KW14 8AJ  01847 896508 caithnesshorizonsmuseum.com


2018-An exciting New Year for Caithness Horizons Museum

We're thrilled to welcome Tracy Dodson to the Caithness Horizons team as our Commercial Manager. Having recently relocated to the north of Scotland, Tracy brings her thirty years’ experience dealing with a variety of business and community clients and successfully delivering a wide range of projects world-wide. Tracy is a well-known glass artist and has had several solo exhibitions. Tracy has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts. Tracy is looking forward to getting stuck in and looks forward to meeting the good folk of Caithness as well as the many visitors we welcome to our county.

It's been all systems go recently here at the Museum and we cannot wait to welcome you to the Museum in the coming year.  We'll be working on new projects, exhibitions and some really fun events so please watch this space.  To be kept in the loop, why not join our mailing list? You can sign up on our contact us page.  You can also 'like' us on facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

We are now closed for the Christmas period and will reopen on Saturday 6th January from 10am. 

We're really looking forward to a vibrant 2018 here at the Museum and have two exciting areas where you can get involved.  We're looking for volunteers to join our Friends of Caithness Horizons volunteering group.  The role will cover front of house duties.  If you've got amazing customer service and a passion for our local area, we'd love to hear from you.  Please contact davemartin@caithnesshorizons.co.uk for more details or to register an interest.   

Next up, we're on the lookout for a part time Administration Officer to join our our dedicated office team.  If you have experience in office and administration and can use the Sage finance system, we would love to hear from you.  This role will be 20 hours per week  with duties including:

·         Filing

·         Banking

·         Petty cash

·         Invoices

·         Sage payroll

·         Building maintenance

·         General administration duties

Please apply with a CV to tracy@caithnesshorizons.co.uk or call +44 (0)7 803 300 904 to talk direct with Tracy while the Museum is closed. The closing date for applicants is close of business on Friday 5th January 2018.