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Gairloch Heritage Museum

The Gairloch Heritage Museum occupies a former military bunker in the centre of the village of Gairloch in Wester Ross, Highland Council Area. It illustrates the history of Wester Ross from early early times until the present and has exhibits ranging from Pictish stones, geological and archaeological displays, an 18th-century croft house room and a section devoted to the agriculture and fishing of the area. A popular exhibit is recreation of Farquhar Macrae's shop in Melvaig in the 1940s, which includes the sign, shop counter, scales, and many of the original items which were for sale. Also on display is the Fresnel lens, gears and foghorn mechanism which were once to be found in Rudha Reidh lighthouse, located 10½ miles (17 km) to the north northwest. When the lighthouse was automated in 1986 these items were removed to the museum.

The museum opened in 1977 in a converted farmstead which was extended to provide space for a library in 1987. Space continued to prove a problem and difficulties in extending the lease brought about the move to a new location. The museum now occupies the former Anti-Aircraft Operations Room, a large concrete bunker built c.1950 as part of Cold War air defence measures, one of four in Scotland. More recently it was used by Highland Council as a roads depot but was subsequently abandoned. It was redeveloped to form the museum at a cost of £2.4 million, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Historic Environment Scotland, and the Scottish Government, together with a number of other charitable trusts.

The museum is operated by the charitable Gairloch & District Heritage Company.


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