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:

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 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


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 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 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.

Local artists Christmas exhibition launch and shopping evening

On Tuesday 12th December, after briefly postponing due to storm Caroline...we officially launched our annual Christmas Exhibition.  The exhibition has occurred annually for a number of years and features original art work from 30 local artists at both professional and amateur level. The exhibition is on display in the Gallery and the Cafe and features some well known names such as Hazel Cashmore, Monique Sliedrecht, Jenny Bruce alongside many others offering a huge range of art work all available to buy.

This year sees the first time we've hosted a launch event for the exhibition and it proved a big hit with 60 people visiting between 5&7pm.  Guests were welcomed with mulled wine and a warm mince pie before they viewed the artwork. 

In the foyer on the ground floor, the gift shop was open with Scottish and local gifts as well as three local suppliers.  Lindsey Gallacher joined us with prints, cards, jewellery and limited edition original pieces, which proved to be very popular.  Lindsey stocks the Museum gift shop with her beautiful Caithness stone jewellery as well as displaying her artwork within the exhibition.

We were thrilled to welcome Hannah from the Crafty Little Studio, Hannah moved to Caithness to be close to family and has never looked back.  2017 is her first ‘crafty Christmas’ so we were very excited to see her work.  Hannah has some original work in the exhibition and had lots of print options available on the night, something to suit all budgets. 

Last but by no means least we welcomed George Mackay to the event.  George is the wonderful artist behind Eejits, he creates digital cartoons with fantastic character.  His products bring a smile to faces of all ages.  His card game Bahoochie has been hugely popular in the Museum gift shop since launching earlier this year so we were excited to see the newest product to hit the shelves, his brand new eejits colouring book! George works closely with the Museum and our Young Curators Club.  Together, they created Museum mascot, Peter the Penguin.  Peter was found in the Museum store many moons ago labelled as a puffin, he is however, very much a penguin originally from Australia or New Zealand.  The Young Curators have a wonderful time thinking up stories and possibilities that could have led to Peter arriving here in Caithness.  Peter’s character pops up throughout the Museum and tells a child friendly story of each of our collections.  The Museum looks forward to working with George in the New Year with plans to create some exclusive Caithness Horizons merchandise underway.  

Since opening, the local artist’s exhibition has been popular with people purchasing treats for themselves and special gifts for their loved ones.  Eight pieces have sold already which is a fabulous support of local artists and the Museum which is a registered charity.  The exhibition will be on display until the end of January, Monday-Saturday from 10am-5pm and is free to visit. 

V&A Dundee’s Scottish Design Relay is coming to Caithness Horizons Museum, Thurso!

V&A Dundee’s Scottish Design Relay is coming to Caithness Horizons Museum, Thurso!

If you are aged between 16-26 then we would love for you to take part in this rewarding design challenge and have your work displayed in @VADundee when the new museum opens next year.

Working with an inspirational designer you will use design to address a challenge relevant to Caithness.

For more information and how to apply please see the poster.

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A call to artists

It's that time of year again! 

We're looking for local artists or artists with a specific connection to Caithness to submit to our annual Christmas exhibition.  There's nothing we love more than supporting local crafts people and artists so we're excited to give you an opportunity to showcase and sell work in our Gallery and cafe exhibition space throughout December.  

Art makes a beautiful and sentimental Christmas gift and we've seen a huge variety of styles over the years so we're looking forward to seeing this years work already.  There are so many talented folk here in Caithness and we can't wait to have the exhibition bursting with their work. 

Please see the information below for the full details and drop Helen a line if you'd like to submit.  

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