When Groam House Museum was successful in receiving a Heritage Fund grant, I was engaged to develop some new ways of sharing stories around its localhistory collection in a short project that would be developed over the next couple of months. I was set the enjoyable task of working with a group of volunteers connected to the museum with knowledge of the history and people of Fortrose & Rosemarkie. 

Work began in earnest in early December 2020 when we met in our first Zoom chat to come up with an idea for some subjects and how to present them on the website for online audiences to enjoy.

Although we couldn’t meet in person, the group was brilliant at bringing their ideas, knowledge, and enthusiasm to these on-screen meetings. After some great chats, I suggested we might use the idea of doorway objects which open-up and invite people in to explore the museum’s local history collection and the stories around them. The plan was to choose 4 “Doors” to kick off the project and for me to create templates which could be used to generate more stories by the museum volunteers after this initial phase of the project was completed. 

 We decided to start with:

  • Rosemarkie High Street Shops
  • The Poor House
  • The Lemonade Factory
  • The Quincentenary

Using the information I had gathered from our Zoom sessions and material that Jill had sent to me from the museum’s archives, I set about creating a layout for each of our topics to include some photographs of objects, some interesting and enticing facts, and some extras like quizzes, jigsaws, website links and audio recordings.

As an online project, it was important not to make these topics too text heavy, but instead to give a lively and inviting snapshot of the subject.

What struck me as just as important, was to provide a platform for local voices within the project brief. I had so enjoyed hearing stories from the project working group, I wanted to share them with a broader audience. And because we would be basing the project on the website, this meant we could include audio files. So, I thought, who can I ask to help me make a podcast about shopping?

I asked Evelyn if she would mind if I recorded us chatting about her memories of the different shops that were once a feature of Rosemarkie High Street and she agreed! We spent a lovely hour talking and laughing and remembering times long before supermarkets and online shopping. It was a delight hearing Evelyn describe the delivery vans, broken biscuits, waspy belts, and wool bought by the ball. 

 My next task was to edit the recording down to a 30-minute sound file so that you too can enjoy it!

By mid-February, I was ready to hand the draft layouts, templates, and media files over to Lynne to begin uploading to the Groam House Museum website. A huge task in itself! My part in the project was official at an end but I felt I’d made some great friends and I fully intend to stay in touch and to help roll the project out. And most importantly, to go and see everyone in person at Groam House Museum when it can reopen its actual doors!

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the first part of the Doorways to the Collections project.