WICK Heritage Museum is on course for another bumper year of visitors from around the world – while at the same time the volunteers who run it are keen to welcome more people from the local area.
Ian Leith, chairman of the Wick Society, made the plea after being re-elected to the post at the annual general meeting on Thursday night.
“In the open season last year we had in excess of 5000 people, which was a good bit up on previous years, and this year looks as though it’s heading very much the same way,” Mr Leith said. “It’s busy, with a lot of tourists coming in. We’re getting a lot of Australians in at the moment.
“One thing we would like to get more of is local people. It’s great that we get these visitors from all over the world, and many of them have Caithness connections and they come on that basis, but it would be nice to get more local people.
“Our open day on January 2 was a good start in that respect because it opened the door to people from the local area to come and see what we have.
“A number have come back on the basis of that.
“The local people are very supportive of the Wick Society. Everything in this museum is donated by people who either live locally or have connections with this place.
“I mentioned at the AGM about the amount of donations that we get in monetary terms. That’s considerable, from local businesses and local people. Some of those are also in-kind donations, certainly in terms of the boat section – they get quite a lot of in-kind help from businesses around the harbour.
“So, while we would like more local people to come in through our doors and appreciate what we’ve got here, it’s not a criticism of the local people because they are very, very supportive.”
He added: “It’s an honour to be part of the Wick Society and to be part of its development.
“We have a number of plans in place for things we want to do. We’ve achieved quite a lot in the last couple of years and we’re looking forward to continuing that.”
The Wick Society will be supporting the Industrial Archaeology Conference taking place from June 22-27. It will cover many aspects of industrial heritage in Caithness, including talks, tours, an exhibition and a visit to Orkney.
“We’re involved in that on two fronts,” Mr Leith said. “The Johnston photographic collection is having a display in Caithness Horizons throughout the month of June but Wick Heritage Museum will also host some of the tours as part of the conference programme.
“We will open our doors at appropriate times to let delegates see the museum.”