AN arts project led by community artist Mike Samson, along with a group of volunteers, are building an artificial cliff wall in the Maggie Law Museum in Gourdon as part of the major refurbishment programme of the facility, which is scheduled to open in April 2013.
The wall will serve as an educational aid, with species of seabirds displayed on the wall, and will also act as a backdrop for the Maggie Law lifeboat - an old inshore surf boat built in 1890 to provide a rescue service for the fishermen of Gourdon.
The museum refurbishment is being managed by the Howe o’ the Mearns Heritage Association on behalf of the Maggie Law Museum Committee.
Project director Dave Ramsay said: “ The involvement of Mike and his team of volunteers, will provide a totally new dimension to the museum, and is yet another example of how the local community has responded to the desire to maintain and promote the maritime heritage of Gourdon.”
An initiative by Aberdeenshire Council, Kincardine and Mearns Regeneration Team in November 2011 saw funding and council expertise being put in place to support the refurbishment of the fabric of the building, which was in need of some repair.
The Community Arts group are working in conjunction with the RSPB, who are providing specialist knowledge to the museum, as well as advising on educational activities for schools in the area, and the artificial wall will be a centrepiece for these activities.
Mike Samson said “The plans for the refurbishment look amazing, it will give Gourdon a great centre for education and hopefully the incredible story of the Maggie Law will inspire all who visit”
The wall will also have the feature of a plasma screen and webcam linked to Fowlsheugh Nature Reserve.
The plasma screen has been purchased through a generous donation from the family and friends of the late Charles (Charlie) Dorward of Goudon.
Robert Ritchie, the TV and hi–fi specialist, Montrose, generously matched this donation this week, enabling the museum to have a high quality screen which will enhance the images of bird life on the cliffs, and this will be of great educational interest. particularly during the nesting season.
National Oilwell Varco, Montrose, provided a generous donation for materials to build the artificial wall in the museum.
This week also saw Gourdon Community Council sponsoring a special clock for the new wall, with humidity and temperature dials to assist in the management and preservation of exhibits in the museum.
As has been demonstrated this week, the museum is currently receiving a high level of support and involvement from local businesses, the community and specialist voluntary organisations, with Lathallan School and Gourdon Primary school developing a wide range of educational and heritage related activities.
Dame Anne Begg MP is providing specialist advice on disability and access issue for the refurbished museum, in order to include people, who can now access the Museum and Heritage Trail.