CLIMBING THE STEPS ONCE MORE
by Martin Gostwick
The most important development at Miller House is under way since The National Trust for Scotland opened the building as a Museum to the general public on 10th April 2004. It is a refurbishment project led by the Trust to update some displays and installations, and to introduce new, improved content, all under the working title "Miller Re-told."
This was announced at The Friends' annual meeting on 6th April by property manager Dr Alix Powers-Jones as part of the consultation process she has initiated in preparation for the reFurbishment. She indicated that among the principal reasons for undertaking this venture, is that the existing presentation of exhibits has in some respects become outdated, and this has placed in jeopardy its enviable VisitScotland grading as a 5-Star Visitor Attraction.
Those of us who participated in the Museum's creation 15 years ago, and the tens of thousands of visitors who have enjoyed it ever since, may feel uneasy about major changes being carried out. One member with wide experience has already given his view that the displays and 'storyboarding' (in the Birthplace Cottage in particular) are "the most effective I have seen in any museum in the UK." However, advances in interpretation, including in digital technology, and new visitor expectations, have made the refurbishment necessary.
Miller House in 2004 was given a theme, "In the Steps of Hugh Miller," taking the visitors for the first time on a visual journey through his momentous life, and now we are called upon to climb those steps again. The Friends of Hugh Miller are fully committed to supporting this exercise, and are participating in the process of drawing up a brief for design consultants who will be appointed in due course to carry it through.
The project is being carried out in conjunction with the Trust's Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre. Follow this link to the case in full for the redevelopment as stated by Alix, and the Survey of opinion for which she seeks public responses. This has already been circulated to all Friends members by email. For website visitors and members who have not already replied, please fill in the forms and mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to the Museum at Miller House, Church Street, Cromarty IV11 8XA, and copy to me as Friends Secretary.
Dr Powers-Jones has asked that responses be sent in as soon as possible. A core budget is being drawn up with Culloden as part of the bidding process this Spring.