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West Highland Museum on 40-Year High

10th January 2019

The West Highland Museum welcomed its 56,000th visitor on 31st December 2018, exceeding a footfall not seen for nearly 40 years!

The ‘special’ 56,000th visitor, Sarah Dungey, was visiting the area from Cornwall with her husband Mark. They have been visitors to Scotland over the festive period for the last decade, but this was the first time they had ventured North to Fort William.

They were very impressed by the museum and its contents, Mark being especially interested in the exhibits on slate as he has managed and currently works in a slate quarry at home.

Sarah said:

I was amazed to have been told I was the 56,000th visitor this year and it is quite an honour. We both loved the museum as there are so many different things to see and find out about. What a great asset to let people know about he history of the area. We will be back.

Since the Museum offered free entry in 2012 they have seen visitor numbers increase from 9,000 to the 2018 total of 56,111. In the past year the museum has hosted book launches and many visiting parties from home and abroad including; Dutch Commandos, Outlander groups, French school children, the Clan Society and an increasing numbers from the far East where the Chinese translation of the Museum Tour comes into its own. The Museum organised a trip to the new V&A museum in Dundee as a thank you to their volunteers, which was well supported.

They have found themselves the most popular indoor attraction on Fort William on ‘Trip Advisor’ – but realise it’s difficult to compete against Ben Nevis and Steall waterfall who occupy first and second slots overall. The excellent reports on social media often mention the warm welcome from volunteers, the “secret portrait”, the Commando Exhibition – and even the half ton Aluminium block!

The Museum receives so much support from the community and personal recommendation, but no more so than from our team of 40 volunteers. The Museum remains financially vulnerable however; with income from the Highland Council reduced by two thirds and it may not receive anything from them this year. So the Museum is now almost entirely dependent on local support and goodwill – and that of visitor’s donations and purchases in the shop.

Why not reconnect with your local museum in Cameron Square – right behind Henry Alexander in the driving seat of the “Bronze Ford” – pay us a visit! And if you can spare four hours a week and would consider joining our volunteer team – phone 702169 to speak to Sonja, our volunteer organiser.

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