Take a virtual tour of the historic buildings of the Highland Folk Museum without leaving your chair

The historic Blackhouse at the Highland Folk Museum.

A new series of virtual tours around the historic buildings of the Highland Folk Museum has just been launched.

The Newtonmore attraction has created a series of 360-degree digital tours as a new way to explore five of its unique buildings and the objects they contain.

The first of the historic buildings to discover is the Blackhouse which is now available on the Highland Folk Museum website.

Project Manager Helen Pickles: “Virtual tours are a great way for us to showcase some of our most iconic buildings and collections.

“Each location can be enjoyed on different levels – online visitors may just want to quickly browse and get a feel for the buildings, or for those who want to dive deeper and learn about the history and stories hidden within , there is a lot of information to read, look at and assimilate.

“With these tours, we are able to present many original objects in context for the first time and highlight the stories the objects tell about life in the past and the people who made and used them.”

The five locations that will be featured are the Blackhouse, Knockbain School, Boleskine Shinty Pavilion, Travelers’ Summer Camp and Lochanhully House – with a new building tour launching online each week.

The museum used the ThingLink digital platform to create the self-guided tours and can be viewed from anywhere in the world.

Helen commented: “The online experiences we have created are not there to replace a visit to the museum – which is due to reopen for the season on April 1st – we are sure this will only increase interest in what we need to explore here, and whet people’s appetite to come back to

the website.”

The virtual tour allows visitors to delve deeper into the history of the contents of the house.
The virtual tour allows visitors to delve deeper into the history of the contents of the house.

With 360-degree photographs of the interior of the building, visitors can watch and explore, with information and images appearing on beacons around the building.

There is even a feature that allows you to read the text aloud or translate it into many languages.

What would the creator of the Isabel F. Grant museum think?

Director and Deputy Chairman of the High Life Highland Board, Mark Tate, said: “The Highland Folk Museum is already a major attraction and this fantastic project will enhance it.

“I doubt Isabel F. Grant imagined our heritage coming alive in this way when she began collecting and protecting objects that told the social history of the Highlands in the 1930s.

“Many of the objects in the collection need to be kept in a dry, secure and stable environment, but thanks to digital technology we are now able to display some of these very special objects in the buildings where they once belonged.”

The project was funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, which is run by the Museum Association, funding projects that develop collections for social impact.

Visit www.highlandfolk.com/explore to start the tour and enter the Blackhouse. Check back weekly as the next four building tours are released.

What is a black house?

The Blackhouse is a reconstruction of a thatched house on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. These buildings have been inhabited for hundreds of years, in some cases until the mid-1900s.

It was one of three houses that the museum’s founder, Dr. Grant, had built in the 1940s when the museum was in Kingussie.

The building was moved, stone by stone, to the Newtonmore site in 2013.

This Hebridean-style building is built to withstand harsh weather and the force of Atlantic gales.

Small windows, six-foot-thick stone walls, the gable facing the prevailing wind, and a weighted thatched roof with no overhangs all helped to create effective shelter from the elements and protect the residents inside. .

The simple house includes a barn at one end, where the cattle would be housed during the cold winter months, and a central room which was the living room and bedroom, with a fire in the middle of the room.

There is no chimney, so the peat smoke seeps through the thatched roof.

The “ben” or good room at the back often served as a bedroom.

Dr. Grant, in his 1961 book Highland Folk Ways, wrote of black houses: “They provided the nocturnal warmth and shelter needed by men and women who spent their days largely outdoors. , had few material possessions and were accustomed to living in close proximity. association”.

The name blackhouse is thought not to have originated, as is commonly assumed, from interiors blackened due to peat smoke, but to distinguish them from a later style of improved house which was whitewashed and known as of white houses.

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