With the normalization of travel after the COVID-19 outbreak, more people are planning their Scotland heritage tours. One major destination for members of Scottish heritage societies are their clan and family museums and heritage centers. These sites range from a display at a local museum or chief’s home to an area of a former church to an entire building.
Clan Donnachaidh Museum
The Clan Donnachaidh Museum is located in Bruar, Pitlochry, Perthshire. Clan Donnachaidh was “refounded” after World War II and sought to secure a clan house. At a clan council meeting in 1962, the leaders agreed that “to have a small cottage with ground sufficient for tented meetings in the Struan, Calvine, Blair Atholl or Kinloch Rannoch areas might be the most suitable proposition.” In 1966, the Duke of Atholl offered a the site next to the Bruar Falls Hotel for a nominal sum. The museum fund was launched with £6,000 and the clan society successfully raised and additional £30,000 to build, equip and endow the project. The museum was opened on August 30, 1969, by the Duke of Atholl. This was the first purpose-built clan museum in Scotland.
The museum showcases the history of Clan Donnachaidh, with the main modern surnames of Robertson, Duncan and Reid. The exhibits include the 700-year-old Clach na Brataich or Stone of the Standard and other artifacts associated with the clan's involvement in the Jacobite uprisings. The gist shop includes the book Scotland's Clan Donnachaidh Country which features a number of heritage sites and local history associations.
Learn more here: https://www.donnachaidh.com/clan_centre.html
Clan Gunn Heritage Centre & Museum
The Clan Gunn Heritage Centre & Museum is located in the Old Latheron Parish Church, just east of the village of Latheron in Cathness. The center is maintained by the Clan Gunn Society, one of the oldest and most northerly clans in Scotland. The church built in 1734 and was gifted to the Society in 1974. The Society opened the center after considerable fund raising within the clan and with the financial support from the Highlands and Islands. The center is divided into a series of separate themes with information boards, artifacts, and life-size mannequins. The clan’s Norse heritage is represented by a replica of a Viking helmet and a model of a Viking longship. The enter also boasts a recreation of the Raven Banner, under which the Earls of Orkney fought. The center also houses a clan archive and offers a gift shop.
Learn more here: https://www.clangunnsociety.org/hc/
Clan Macpherson Museum
The Clan Macpherson Museum is located on Main Street in Newtonmore, Inverness-shire. This Scottish Tourist Board four-star museum is owned and run by the Clan Macpherson Museum Trust, a registered charity in Scotland. The first opened its doors in 1952 and has grown to include a large collection of artifacts of historical importance to the Highlands of Scotland and to members of the Macpherson Clan.
An audio-visual presentation gives visitors insight into the clan system and the Macpherson Clan. The displays of objects, documents and text are organized in chronological. Since the museum receives no government or local authority funding. The museum also maintains the Macpherson Electronic Museum (MEM) which is available online at http://www.clan-macpherson.org/museum/mem/tour.html. This allows Clan Macpherson members around the world to learn more about their heritage.
Learn more here: https://www.clanmacphersonmuseum.org.uk/
Clan Colquhoun Heritage & Visitor Centre
The Clan Colquhoun Heritage & Visitor Centre is located in the 17th-century Shore Cottage in Luss, in Argyll and Bute, within the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Colquhoun Clan Chief Sir Malcolm Rory Colquhoun, 9th Baronet of Luss, opened the center in 2015. At its opening, the Colquhoun stated that “The history of the clans and the history of Scotland are so closely intertwined as to be indistinguishable, and our aim is to increase visitors’ awareness of that and of its relevance, not just to the past but to the future as well.” This small museum includes a re-enactment and living history group depicting 17th century Highland raids on the Lennox in April, and the Moor and Loch Pony Show in the autumn.
Learn more about Clan Colquhoun International here: https://www.clancolquhoun.com/
Clan Macdougall Center
The Clan Macdougall Center consists of a room at the 1745 House, built by Alexander MacDougall, 23rd chief of the Clan MacDougall, to replace Dunollie Castle as the residence of the Clan Chief. The rest of the house continues as the Clan Chief’s private residence. The castle grounds are located in Oban, on the west coast of Scotland in Argyll.
The center offers displays showing life in chief’s house and the history of Dunollie Castle. The center also preserves and displays family heirlooms, such as the original Brooch of Lorn. The center includes a tearoom and a Draper Shop which sells books, CD-ROMs, jewelry and clan badges. Dunollie Museum, Castle & Grounds is run by the MacDougall of Dunollie Preservation Trust, a registered charity in Scotland.
Clan Grant Centre
The Clan Grant Centre is located at the old Church at Duthil, close to Grantown-on-Spey, Moray, Scotland. Once within the Catholic diocese of Elgin Cathedral, the first Presbyterian minister was ordained in 1625. The present building was erected in 1826. In 1986, its previous owner Gerald Brandon-Bravo from Whitebridge gave Duthil Church to the Clan Grant Society. In 1993, the building was granted to a Trust is now known as the Clan Grant Centre Trust.
The center includes two glass display cabinets dedicated to the Métis and the Cherokees, as well as many paintings, photos and other Clan memorabilia displayed on the walls.
Learn More Here: https://www.clangrant.org/index.aspx?pid=5
Strathnaver Museum – Clan Mackay
The Strathnaver Museum is located in Clachan, Bettyhill, Thurso, Caithness, Scotland. The former Parish Church of Columba in Bettyhill opened as a museum in 1976. While the main focus is on the story of the Highland Clearances, the museum has dedicated a room to the Clan Mackay. The museum is undergoing a major refurbishment that will expand the single room to the Mackay Centre with a focus on telling the story of Clan Mackay and its folk. The Centre will also include an introductory video introducing the clan system and Clan Mackay.
Learn more here: https://www.strathnavermuseum.org.uk/mackays/clan-mackay/
Museum of the Isles - Clan Donald
Much of the history of Clan Donald is included in the Museum of the Isles, located on the grounds of Armadale Castle in Sleat on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Armadale Castle was occupied at one time by Flora MacDonald and her husband Allan MacDonald of Kingsburgh. The estate was inherited by Donald Clan Chief Lord Madonald, who was forced to sell much of the land to pay the estate taxes. With financial support of clansmen in the United States and Canada, Lord Macdonald saved over 18,000 acres of the original estate including Armadale Castle. The Clan Donald Lands Trust was formed to create a clan center for Clan Donald. The resulting Museum of the Isles was dedicated in May 1984.
The five main galleries provide displays on the 1500-year story of Scotland’s largest and most powerful clan through from the rise of the Lords of the Isles, through the tumult of Jacobite risings, to the hardship of clearance and emigration. The collection includes a replica tombstone from Finlaggan, seat of the Lords of the Isles; Viking ship's timber found in Skye; fine china; jewels; bagpipes; and ceremonial weapons.
Learn more here: https://www.armadalecastle.com/explore/museum/
Douglas Heritage Museum
The Museum is located in the former Dower House of the now demolished Douglas Castle in Douglas, South Lanarkshire, Scotland. The Dower House was a dwelling until 1961 when it was restored by the Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of the Hirsel KT PC, and dedicated as the Episcopal Chapel of St Sophia. In 1993, the building was converted to a heritage museum. The museum includes exhibits dedicated to the Cameronians, our local regiment and to Douglas Castle.
Learn more here: http://douglasheritagemuseum.co.uk/
Clan Cameron Museum
The Clan Cameron Museum is located in Achnacarry, Spean Bridge, Lochaber in the region of Highland, Scotland. The building was designated as a Class C building in 1971. The museum features the history of clan Cameron from 14th century to present day; the clan’s part in the 1745 Jacobite uprising; the foundation of the Cameron Highlanders regiment; clan history archives and reading room; and gifts for sale featuring the clan Cameron crest and tartan.
Learn more here: https://www.clancameronmuseum.co.uk/