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Highland museum shortlisted for national award for second year running

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A Highland museum has been praised after it was shortlisted for a top award for the second year in a row.

Timespan, based in Helmsdale, is in the running for the Art Fund Museum of the Year accolade.

Last year, the attraction – which provides a unique insight into how contemporary issues affect people and communities within remote and rural Scotland – lost out to Gairloch Museum.

Winners receive £100,000, while the four other nominees are given £15,000 in recognition of their achievements.

The museum team said they were “beyond delighted and honoured” to be shortlisted, and praised staff for keeping the community “connected, engaged and active” during lockdown.

They added: “It’s a celebration of our wonderful community who have been relentless and incredible in their support, love and care over this strange and difficult time.
Congratulations and thanks to the other shortlisters and every cultural organisation who recognises and acts on their role in responding to urgent contemporary issues and expanding the civic sphere, and understand the vital need for a total transformation of culture.”

The chairman of the local authority’s Sutherland County Committee has now congratulated the team.

Councillor Richard Gale said: “This is excellent news for Timespan, the local community, and the Highlands. On behalf of Sutherland members, I would like to express how proud we are of Timespan’s achievement in being shortlisted for this fantastic award.”

This year’s nominations reflect how the museums adapted to the pandemic and how they remained connected to their local communities during lockdown.

Mr Gale added: “We would also like to thank the museum for the work and dedication they have shown to our local area, including operating as a social hub for the community.

“We have a lot to offer for residents and visitors to Sutherland and Timespan is highlighting this at a national level.”

Timespan in Helmsdale commissions four major projects each year which is in keeping with broader social movements.

It first opened in 1987 and the museum tells the local and social history of the parish and people including the boom and bust of the herring fishing industry, Highland Clearances, the brief gold rush and the burning of the last witch in Sutherland.

The history is told through a mix of local stories, historical objects, archival images, mythology and virtual interactive displays.

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