New look Kildonan Museum

New look Kildonan Museum
New look Kildonan Museum

More young people will get involved in various activities at a South Uist museum following a major extension and internal improvements.

Local historical trust, Urras Eachdraidh Uibhist a Deas (UEUD) which owns Kildonan Museum (Taigh-Tasgaidh Chill Donnain) has completed a £800,000 development project.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is supporting the development with a grant of £100,000.

The museum celebrates South Uist’s past through the story of Gaelic culture, environment and people and aims to increase the level of involvement of local people and visitors.

The multi-functional building houses the museum, café and shop. As well as a new extension, the building has undergone internal improvements including a redesign of the interpretive displays.

Young people will get the opportunity to be involved in multi-lingual audio tours of the museum and a junior Comann Eachdraidh will be established.

The project enables UEUD to use new interpretation displays and a traditional smithy and wool shed which will be used for demonstrations.

Other activity programmes include heritage and wildlife tours and afternoon ceilidhs.

This season, UEUD has worked with Uist Wool and Taigh Chearsabhagh to develop joint programmes of interpretation and events that celebrate Uist’s wool heritage.

Partnership funding for the project was secured from the Scottish Government and Local Authorities Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, SnBM Community Fund, Foyle Foundation and funds from UEUD.

Built in 1997, Kildonan Museum is a popular visitor attraction in South Uist. The museums’ collections include artefacts of cultural significance spanning an extensive period relating to early human settlements, clan history and the Jacobites. Important archives relating to crofting, culture and Gaelic are also housed there.

Rachel Mackenzie, area manager at HIE in the Outer Hebrides, said: “The development of the area’s community-based culture, arts and heritage activities is a fundamental driver to enhancing the attractiveness and distinctiveness of the islands. We are delighted to support this exciting expansion project.

“With our £5m investment in the Lochboisdale Port of Entry which includes new marina facilities, we expect an increase of visitors to the area.

“The redevelopment of Kildonan Museum will also play a key role in encouraging more people to visit the area. The trust has aspirations to grow and this project is good news for improving economic diversity and sustainability of the fragile area.”

UEUD’S Chairman Ronnie MacKinnon said: “We are really pleased to be able to showcase our collection in the newly refurbished and extended Museum.

“I thank the UEUD volunteers who have put considerable effort into delivering a very successful outcome and I also thank the funders for their support.

“The project enables us to safeguard our heritage for future generations and use it to educate visitors about the cultural heritage of South Uist.