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2017 News

December 2017

Elgin Museum CARS Building Works

Elgin Museum wrapped in scaffolding

During the “closed” period, thanks to funding support from the Elgin Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) the Museum will be undergoing an extensive programme of repair and restoration. The roof to the main building and rear extension will both be overhauled, the stone work will be restored, and in places, replaced, the lime pointing will be fixed and there will be works to the rainwater goods and windows. Please bear with us while these works are ongoing!

In other December news, we have appointed a new Education & Outreach officer who will begin planning the 2018 programme of events and activities for children and young people in the New Year.


November 2017

Speakers at the Archaeology conference 2017

We opened November with our keynote event of the Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology, our archaeology conference: Forgotten, Hidden & Lost – unearthing Moray’s archaeology. The event was a great success with wonderful insights on the region’s archaeology and heritage, culminating in a lively group discussion. The audience heard first about the “hidden” side of archaeology in Moray from archaeological contractors working on building developments including the extensive prehistoric settlement uncovered at Grantown Road, Forres, recent excavations at Macallan distillery which uncovered post-medieval activity, and the fascinating prehistoric cemetery discovered during works at Lesmurdie on the edge of Elgin. Next was Prof Leif Iskasen revealing details of the recently rediscovered “lost” hillfort at Cluny Hill, Forres, an update from Dr Gordon Noble on the Northern Picts project, and a thought provoking consideration of the Iron Age in Moray through its artefacts from Dr Fraser Hunter. The last session of the day took us from Prehistoric Pyromaniacs through the impact of World War II on the Lossie Forest, the prominence of ironworking in Iron Age Moray ending with Underworld Encounters in the Covesea Caves. We are grateful to all who attended, to the staff of the Alexander Graham Bell Centre at Moray UHI, and to our sponsors and supporters: Heritage Lottery Fund, Event Scotland, Glen Moray and Walkers. A publication of the proceedings of the conference is currently in progress, more details will be circulated to conference attendees and Moray Society members once it is available.


HHA tour of Elgin Cathedral      Guided walking tour of Elgin

Following on from the conference, with thanks to Historic Environment Scotland, we were able to offer a guided insight tour of Elgin Cathedral – many hardy souls braved the cold to hear from experts about the carved stones and medieval stained glass from the Cathedral, as well as the “Elgin Pillar” Pictish stone. This was followed in the afternoon by “Elgin’s Hidden Treasures” a guided walking tour of Elgin’s architectural and archaeological heritage from Museum stalwarts Mary Byatt and Claire Herbert.


Incorporated Trades walking tour if Elgin

November concluded with a walking tour from another familiar face at the Museum. Local historian Morag MacDonald’s walk “On the Urban Trail of the Trades in Elgin” brought events and local characters to life as we learnt about the important role of the Incorporated Trades in Elgin.


October 2017

Ogham Children's craft session   Egyptian Children's craft session

During October, we had three jam-packed family friendly event, first creating Ogham inscribed pendants before we moved further afield with a morning of Ancient Egyptian themed activities – standing room only at this event! At the end of October, we welcomed a myriad of ghosts & ghouls for our Late Night Spooktacular as we celebrated the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival.

Late Night Spooktacular Dia de los Muertos event


September 2017

In September, as part of our Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology programme of events, we travelled back in time to the medieval period as we toured Duffus Castle. Thanks to David Weinczok, “The Castle Hunter”, the castle’s history and inhabitants were brought to life, while Mike Pendery, District Architect for Historic Environment Scotland, shared some of the challenges of managing this much-loved historic site. Sadly, we were once again plagued by rain but persevered with the tour nonetheless!

The Museum was also open for this year’s “Door’s Open Days”, and we held a special event, open to all ages, to try their hand at a variety of architectural paper crafts – the room was filled with Eiffel Towers, Roundhouses and Pyramids!


August 2017

Aberlour walking tour

At the end of August, we hosted a guided walking tour of Aberlour, with fascinating insights into the architecture and history of the town provided by local architect Andrew Wright – the weather was typical of a Scottish summer but the event was well attended and generated much discussion on the day.


Young Marvels Medieval March

Mary and Claire in medieval costume     Mary and Young Marvels at Muckle Cross in Elgin

The summer’s Young Marvels programme in ended in style in August, as our Young Marvels marched through the town centre in their medieval costumes to launch a raid on Elgin Castle. They were regaled with fascinating insights into medieval Elgin along the way thanks to volunteer Mary Shand, and welcomed to Elgin Castle by its knightly owner (otherwise known as volunteer Claire Herbert).


April 2017

Easter Holidays Family Drop-in Activities

Carved Stone Balls Activity    Prehistoric Pots activity

In April we hosted the first of our Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology family drop-in activities. Over two days, more than 200 children and adults “dropped-in” to try their hand at throwing their own prehistoric pots and creating their own Neolithic carved stone balls out of clay. Some wonderful artworks were created, lots more “Young Marvels” joined up, and a good time was had by all! More family drop-in activities and Young Marvels activities are planned for the summer – keep up to date online and via Twitter and Facebook.


Season Opening 2017

Three Jesters

Three Jesters

It’s no joke – 1st of April saw the Museum reopening for the season, with an April Fool’s Day theme complete with jesters, jokes and jugglers (thanks to Theatre Modo‘s circus skills workshops). We had craft activities, a jester treasure hunt and more – thanks to all who attended!

Theatre Modo's Circus Skills workshop    Theatre Modo juggling (replica) carved stone balls


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March 2017

2016-17 Winter Lecture Series – “What is Europe?”

March ended with another of our series of Winter Lectures, this time from Dr Lester Borley discussing the Cultural Landscape of Europe. His talk was fully illustrated and put forward the stance that Europe is not divided west to east (which is the common perception), but is really divided north to south, and looked at the geomorphology of Europe as well as the religious and cultural interrelationships which have developed over time.

Lester Borley delivering his talk on the cultural landscapes of Europe

Lester Borley delivering his talk on the cultural landscapes of Europe


Embroidering the Past – new exhibition launch

On Friday 31st March, textile artist Ruth Black’s new exhibition exploring the Pictish stones of Moray was officially launched to a specially invited audience.  The exhibition, which runs until the 28th April 2017, employs many different textile techniques to explore the wealth of Pictish sculpture in the area. Ruth is a textile artist specialising in embroidery, felt making and weaving, with a particular interest in Celtic & Pictish art which she translates into designs for a wide variety of wearable art and items for the home.

Embroidering the Past launch event


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Launching the Year of history, Heritage & Archaeology 2017

At the end of March, we officially launched our year of HLF-supported Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology programme of events with the help of Angus Robertson, MP, Richard Lochhead, MSP, and Visit Scotland’s Regional Director, Jo Robinson.

Launch of the Year of HHA Events Programme

Launch of the Year of HHA Events Programme

Commenting, Lucy Casot, Head of HLF in Scotland, said:

“The Heritage Lottery Fund is a key partner in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and it’s our ambition that people of all ages will have the chance to discover something new about the heritage they care about. We’re delighted that, thanks to funding from the National Lottery, Elgin Museum will be opening the door to fun, learning and everlasting memories for many people as we celebrate this special year.”

Jo Robinson, Visit Scotland Regional Director for Moray Speyside:

“From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends – Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 will spotlight some of our greatest assets and icons as well as our hidden gems.

The historic environment forges connections between people and the places where they live and visit. I’m certain both visitors and locals will be inspired be the variety of things to see and do at the exciting and educational programme of activity at Elgin museum.”

Janet Trythall, Vice-President, The Moray Society:

“It’s great to have the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the exciting programme of activities and events we have planned for the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology, especially as it means we’ve been able to engage archaeological experts to run hands-on training”

The programme is available online but more events are to come – stay up to date with all of our events on the website, Twitter and Facebook pages.

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February 2017

2016-17 Winter Lecture Series – The Pattern and Distribution of Early Medieval Sculpture on the Spey

Also in February, we welcomed back an old friend of the Musuem, John Borland from Historic Environment Scotland. John talked to us about Pictish art in Moray, with particular reference to the Spey Valley.

John Borland delivers his talk on Pictish Art in the Spey Valley

John Borland delivers his talk on Pictish Art in the Spey Valley


A Visit from the Engineers

In February we opened our doors to some of the Engineers stationed at Kinloss Barracks, who enjoyed a guided tour of the Museum with Janet Trythall.

Visit from Engineers stationed at Kinloss Barracks   Janet Trythall giving a guided tour to Engineers stationed at Kinloss Barracks



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