Member of the Week - The Highlanders’ Museum

The Highlanders' Museum is situated in the former Lieutenant Governors house within historic Fort George, near Ardersier. We are completely independent of Historic Environment Scotland who run Fort George as a tourist attraction. The Highlanders' Museum is the largest regimental museum outside of London. It has been recognised as a Nationally Significant Collection, containing over 60,000 artefacts.The Highlanders' Museum charts the history of the highland soldier from just after the battle of Culloden through to the present day. With thought provoking interpretations and hands on handling experiences the Museum is a fantastic day out to bring the family. The Museum is FREE to enter, as it is included as part of the entry fee to Fort George. The museum and Fort have fantastic views over the Moray firth, making it ideal for a bit of dolphin and whale spotting.

Inverness Chamber of Commerce spoke to Iris Thompson-Burton, Business Manager for the Museum. About her role, Iris said: “having joined the Museum 6 months ago, after a lengthy career in the South East of England and London with a horrendous daily commute (up to 4 hours a day), it was time for an improved work/life balance. I had been planning a move home to Scotland at some point, so everything just fell into place at the right time when the job was advertised. I am here to help the museum run smoothly, and to look after our events, social media, marketing and fundraising.”

We asked Iris how the museum will benefit from being member of the week: “The Highlanders' Museum is a returning member to the Chamber having re-joined after a few years’ hiatus, and we are keen to promote ourselves to our local communities, and to showcase that we are more than just a museum.  Whilst we are a museum, and a fabulous one at that; we have a thriving calendar of events and are available as an alternative venue for events, from weddings, to private dining evenings through to afternoon tea in the officers dining room.”

Iris told us more about the opportunities and services at the museum:

  • Volunteering – we are always keen to attract volunteers to join our dedicated band of volunteers, we are happy to help build skills and confidence (great for those wanting to enhance their CV), we have a role for everyone, so if you can spare a few hours a week, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
  • Research – with the records and documents relating to soldiers serving in our regiments we are able to piece together family histories, and have a band of dedicated research volunteer’s who are able to undertake this research for a small fee of £20 more details can be found here
  • Venue hire – if you are looking for somewhere unique for your event, we can look to help, whether it is for somewhere for client fine dining, champagne and canapes with a private tour, full on pomp and ceremony of a beating the retreat, team meetings/away days (with FREE parking) to afternoon tea and weddings we would be delighted to.

The Highlanders’ Museum is keen to tell us about their events and news coming up: “We are about to launch a series of ‘evenings at the museum’, with the first being an evening of Gin and foods from around the world – booking is essential and will be available via our online shop.

We have also entered into a partnership with Drumossie Hotel, for weddings. We have the stunning regimental chapel within Fort George, where the Bride and Groom can say their “I do’s” have their photographs taken on the ramparts, the beach and within the beautiful surroundings, have a reception drink and canapes for their guests within the museum, and then they are chauffeured off by the Drumossie hotel for their wedding breakfast and reception. More details can be picked up at the Drumossie Hotel wedding showcase on the 30th June 2019 at the Hotel.”

Iris shared with us their upcoming business plans for over the next 12 months: “We are keen to grow the business and welcome more visitors to the museum, raising our profile and increasing our band of volunteers.”

Iris told us about all the awards and commendations The Highlanders’ Museum has received lately:

  • The Highlanders' Museum retained its 5 Star visitor attraction rating from Visit Scotland this year. This is something we are immensely proud of given that the criteria we were judged against last time round had been changed and the standard levels enhanced.
  • Awarded Recognised as a Nationally Significant Collection - this is a significant award for a museum.
  • We have a Trip Advisor certificate of excellence and an entry in their Hall of Fame, having received our certificate of excellence for 6 years in a row.
  • 2019 we were shortlisted as a finalist at The Scottish Hospitality Awards 2019 – Best Family venue of the year.
  • 2018 we were a finalist in the Rural Business awards – Best Social Enterprise category
  • 2018 we were a finalist in the Highlands and Islands tourism awards – Best Heritage experience category
  • 2018 Scottish Outdoor Leisure awards – Best visitor attraction category
  • Shhh! We have been nominated and awarded an award which has been embargoed until July 2019, so we can’t shout about it too much at the moment, but we are extremely proud of this award, we will share this news with you when we are allowed to.

We asked Iris what she values most about Membership of Inverness Chamber of Commerce for The Highlanders’ Museum: “The ability to network with others and promote our business with like-minded individuals.”

Iris shared her top-tip for making the most out of your membership with Inverness Chamber of Commerce: “Get involved, attend the networking events. It has proven to be very useful and beneficial for us.”

Upcoming events at The Highlanders’ Museum:

  • 30th June – Wedding Showcase at Drumossie Hotel
  • 17th July – re creation of the Recruitment ride, come along and meet the re-enactors, and live horses
  • 29-30 August we will be at the Northern Pipe meeting (see our social media for more details in due course)
  • 31st August – A gin experience – world tour
  • 13th September – An evening of whisky tasting and food paring
  • Date to Be confirmed – A behind the scenes at the Museum with the Chamber of Commerce.

Facebook: @thehighlandersmuseum
Twitter: @HMuseum
Tel: 0131 310 8702 (it’s an Edinburgh number because we go through the military exchange)