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Strathnaver Museum

Located in the former Farr Parish Church of St. Columba at Clachan, a half-mile (0.8 km) east northeast of Bettyhill in Sutherland, the Strathnaver Museum is a local history museum which explains the domestic and working lives of the people who once occupied this part of the North West Highlands. Opened in 1976, it tells the story of the Sutherland Clearances, particularly those which took place in Strath Naver. A room is dedicated to the history of Clan Mackay, with exhibits contributed by individuals and Clan Mackay Societies from around the world. The museum is also home to artefacts collected from the numerous archaeological sites in the surrounding area.

Situated at the centre of an extensive old graveyard, the old church building is a plain white box built in 1774, with an elegant bird-cage bellcote above the east gable. It was built to accommodate 750 parishioners, but emigration and schisms in the church led to a declining congregation, and in 1881-82 the upper gallery was removed creating more vertical space inside but with a smaller capacity.

An intricately-carved 8th or 9th century cross-slab, known as the Farr Stone, lies opposite the west door of the museum. There are also several 18th-century grave-slabs, rescued from the local area, among the museum exhibits.

The museum is open from April to October. It includes a library and archive, open by appointment, which together act as a resource for those interested in researching the archaeology, genealogy or history of the area.


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