Comann Eachdraidh News

1 July 2006

Ancestral Tourism

The Comann Eachdraidh Lios Mòr is now a centre that welcomes 'Ancestral Tourists'. This award confirms that the new Museum and Heritage Centre will continue to achieve high standards when welcoming family historians keen to explore their Liosach roots. 


'The Ancestral Tourists Welcome Scheme' forms part of Visit Scotland's wider Ancestral Tourism Initiative, which is working with the industry to create a world class experience for visitors to Scotland. Comann Eachdraidh Museum members have had a special training course covering the nature of ancestral tourism, awareness of national and local resources, and how to get further information on aspects of ancestral tourism.



Margaret MacDonald and Cathy Carmichael working on the collection


25 May 2006

Building underway


At last after a six week very frustrating delay the new Gaelic Heritage Museum building is under way. Meanwhile Cait McCullough the Museum Development officer with the help of volunteers continues to progress the digital archiving of the material donated. She would like those who have donated to get in touch so that the facts about the items can be documented. The photographer, Margaret MacKichan has offered any and all of her images taken on her many visits for the collections: if you have any of Margaret’s images she would be interested to discuss how they might be included as part of either the exhibition or research collections.  You can either send the prints to Cait at the school house, along with your name and number, or send them as scans in tiff format, by email.


It would also be good to have more information, collected memories, images and /or objects on the following topics:


o Maritime history and traditions associated with Lismore, especially the Effie and Mary, the Lady Margaret, other Lismore Smacks   and their crews.

o The linen industry on Lismore

o Wartime Lismore

o Weddings on Lismore.

o Visitors and events on the island, during the Glasgow Fair Fortnight, particularly in the 1950s 

o Travelling Families & Lismore Willow Baskets –  made on the island by travelling families such as the Johnstons and the Gibsons

o Peat cutting – on Lismore and in Benderloch

o Former Liosach occupations: including tailors, smiths, horse-training-trading, etc.

o 20th Century home life – before electricity

o Rhymes and songs of a Liosach child


A small group of volunteers has been meeting to research and share information about the island’s natural history, the environment today and the way people on Lismore have been interacting with, and using natural resources for millennia.


If you have any specimens, images or knowledge about the flora, fauna, land and sea features of Lismore Cait would like to hear from you.




Mapping Lismore


Following on from the Oral History collection that began in February, Julian and Carol, Pauline and Stuart, Davie, Gill, Tess, Josie and Ruairidh, Barbara, and Jennifer and Tony have offered to welcome others for an evening of ‘ceilidhing’ at each of their homes, over the summer months - sharing memories, pictures, place-names, songs and stories about your home, place of birth, farmland, township, fishing and sailing waters, arrival on Lismore, etc. 

If you would like to host a similar evening do get in touch. Watch the what’s On for details.




The CELM Collection has just received its very own unique identifier from the Museums Documentation Association, the national association who register tiny digits marked in china ink, on objects in museums. Our identifier is: LISDD – the ‘LIS’ bit being for Lismor and ‘DD’ standing for ‘Dùthchas agus Dualchas – a people and their place.  


The digital age is here


For some time now members of the Comann Eachdraidh have been meeting with Cait and a team of volunteers to formally document the objects, archives and images in the School house collection. This contributes towards the new museum becoming Accredited with the Museums, Libraries and Archives and Scottish Museums Councils and increases the likelihood that one day celebrated items such as the Iron Age Armlet found at Newfield, the Bronze Age Socketed Axe from the Bar Mòr and even the Book of the Dean can be returned for exhibition on the island.


As part of ensuring quick and reliable access to the records and images associated with each item in the collection, the CELM has secured funding from Big Lottery Fund, via Awards for All, to purchase software and equipment that will support a searchable digital database.  This ADLIB database will enable staff at the new centre, residents, visitors and, eventually, virtual visitors –  to search under a variety of headings, e.g. township or individuals names and get a series of images, records and location information of the items associated with those places/people.


The documentation project will continue for the remaining 19 months of the Museum Development Project, prioritising items to be part of the permanent display – approximately 15 per cent of the collection – to start with. And, while completing this for today’s collection will be easily managed, it is hoped that as the centre becomes recognised as a research and temporary exhibition facility, more records will be added and added to.  For this reason, it is wonderful that a small volunteer team have participated in training, given by Cait – the Museum Development Officer – and others, building skills for the future and ongoing life of the museum. 


On Monday 22nd, Estelle Quick of Highland Museum Services took Cait, Caroline Willis and Gill Bridle through the ADLIB programme and showed them how to enter  and make links between records already collected for such objects as this lovely ‘Radiation Rhythm Gas Iron’

(see picture) - an object that will bring back many vivid memories to those who kept a home and raised families on the island prior to the long-awaited arrival of mains electricity in the 1970s - or  this Ship in a Bottle, depicting the South End of the Island and believed to have been made by either Donald or Duncan MacDonald, both of whom were drowned at that very spot in 1896. 


Seeing how by just typing in the word ‘bottle’ or ‘iron’ will bring a treasury of information and images was tremendously exciting.  Those caring for the objects, family history and other researchers, will discover the conservation needs and condition of the items plus the location of and the written records available. Cait, Caroline and Gill will need time to practice but the training day has given a great insight into new ways the culture of the people and places of Lismore can be celebrated and shared.


With thanks to Awards for All, and to the Lismore Computer Club for their loan of a laptop to support the training day and also to Betty Culver, for her research and collection of written records, some of which we used on the day, to Jim Millard and Bill Willis for their support with photographing the collection and to all those volunteers offering services, research and skills and those who have donated items for the collection, for their ongoing support.


If you would like to find out more about the digital archive or any other aspect of the Museum Development Project, please get in touch with Cait on 760 346 or at



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