The Friends of Hugh Miller are actively involved in promoting and supporting the Miller Museum in Cromarty. We provide the following voluntary services:
These have included:
Copies of Hugh Miller books, some with rare dedications.
A mourning brooch containing Miller's hair.
An accounts notebook of the Miller family's expenses after his death.
An extremely rare pamphlet entitled Whiggism of the Old School.
Most recently, we were lucky enough to receive a donation from Cornell Swart of Gordon's Bay, South Africa - Cornell is a metal detectorist, and discovered a 18 carat gold mourning ring, inscribed with Miller's name and details, on her local beach! Read more about this incredible story here.
We provided £4000 in funding for the creation of Lydia Garden, and the adjacent "Peace Room," behind the Cottage. We also raised £16,000 for the Eliza's Path project, completed in 2021.
New research work
We aim to keep up-to-date with all Miller-related research, both academic and journalistic, from around the world. Many research projects and studies have been discussed in Hugh's News over the years, and this website will host regular updates in our 'Latest News' section from spring 2023 onwards. Most recently, vital research has been undertaken by Professor Ralph O'Connor of the University of Aberdeen into Hugh Miller and allegations of racism - a full and frank discussion of Prof O'Connor's extensive and detailed findings can be found here: [Link to Miller and Race page]
We welcome all researchers and interested parties who may be conducting - or plan to conduct - research into Hugh Miller and/or his family, work, or legacy, to contact us. We love to hear about new insights into Miller's life, his incredible fossil discoveries and his legacy of social justice campaigning and journalism.
Writing interpretation scripts
We have been involved in compiling interpretation boards and information sheets for various parties, including the Miller Museum.
Volunteers from the Friends have been involved in Museum cataloguing and archive research in the past.
Front of house reception and shop sales work
Volunteers from our membership are most welcome to apply via the National Trust for Scotland to help at the Museum in Cromarty.
We aim to host at least one guided tour around Cromarty and the shore fossil beds each year.
Volunteers from the Friends have been involved in maintaining the gardens at the Museum and Cottage.
Manning exhibition stalls
Our members and management committee were regular volunteers manning stalls at events prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have held fossil handling events and manned stalls at events including the Inverness Science Festival, the Scottish Geology Festival, and Fossil events at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. The Friends have our own fossil collection that we are very happy to bring along to any geology-related event - if you're an event organiser, do get in touch to find out more!
From 2015 to 2020, we were sponsors of the Hugh Miller Writing Competitions, which we helped organise with the Scottish Geodiversity Forum (this organisation ceased in 2020) and other partners. Taking primary responsibility for organising these major cultural events is science writer and poet Larissa (Lara) Reid, a leading member of both organisations.
We contributed prizes for the winners of all three competitions, and £500 towards the publication of an anthology, Conversations in Stone, edited by Lara with colleague Elsa Panciroli. The book is reviewed on our Cabinet of Curiosities page.
Lara Reid and Elsa Panciroli with book Conversations in Stone at the Dippy Exhibition in Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow Spring 1019
We will be participating fully in the refurbishment of Miller House, which is planned for the coming years.
Our magazine, Hugh's News, prominently reports these and other major ventures which have been immensely rewarding. You will find the relevant articles in the back numbers on the magazine page. Here is a summary of the highlights:
2008: Opening of Miller's Yard, Garden of Wonders
2008: Hugh Miller: Local Hero - earth science conference in Cromarty, held together with launch of the Scottish Fossil Code by the then Scottish Government minister for arts and culture, Mike Russell.
2010: Opening of Lydia Garden, dedicated to the Miller family and their descendants.
2014 and 2015: Cruise of the Betsey voyages in the Small Isles and off Argyll on the traditional boat Leader at the invitation of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Sponsored student's £500 berth. 2014 voyage followed by We Are Cromarty festival.
2015/16: First Hugh Miller Writing Competition.
2017: Spring: Readings from competition winners at StAnza Poetry Festival, St Andrews
2017: Autumn. Hosted the major earth science conference - The Old Red: Hugh Miller's Geological Legacy.
2017/18: Second Hugh Miller Writing Competition, combined with tours of Miller's Edinburgh.
2018: January. Acquisition of our own fossil collection.
2018: June. First fossil exhibition at Inverness Science Festival.
2019: Fossils displayed at Dippy On Tour exhibition at Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery, Glasgow.
2019: Second display at Inverness Science Festival
2020: Third and final Hugh Miller Writing Competition.
2021: Opening of Eliza's Path, St Regulus' Graveyard, Cromarty. Dedicated to our founder, Martin Gostwick, who sadly passed away in July 2021.
2022: May. First in-person AGM since 2019, thanks to COVID pandemic. Events have been limited since 2020.