History of the Trust
The Heritage Association was first established in 1990 and gained charitable status as Colonsay and Oransay Heritage Trust in 1993. From 1995 Regular exhibitions and events were held in the Old Waiting Room, Scalasaig until 2012 when we relocated to the Old Generator Shed at Port Mòr, kindly on loan from Colonsay Estate.
In 2017, after a very successful 5 years in the Old Generator Shed the Trust found a permanent home at the old Baptist Church in Kilchattan. We are very grateful to the congregation of the church for their kind offer of a permanent home: we have much more room for displays and it makes an ideal space for small scale concerts, slide shows and lectures. It is the long term ambition of the trust to undertake a process of renovation and development on what is an iconic Island building; achieving in time a state of the art centre while preserving the unique properties of the building.
Aims and Objectives
- Promote and preserve the cultural, environmental and linguistic heritage of Colonsay and Oronsay through educational and recreational activities and through the collection and dissemination of relevant material for study and display
- Create a dedicated centre to make available local collections and archives available to the public
- Use the Centre to contribute to both the local community and visitors
- Stimulate local artists and writers through awareness of the vibrant culture and environment of islands
For over 20 years, dependent largely on donations and grants for income, the Trust has promoted an annual programme of exhibitions and events including:
· The Trust's own displays on local history and environment based on text, artefacts and photographs
· Hosted touring exhibitions on traditional and cultural themes from the National Library of Scotland, the School of Scottish Studies in the University of Edinburgh, and Scotland 's Lighthouse Museum, and a collaboration with the MacDougall Collection (Oban) on an exhibition at the Village Hall in 2005
· Shown the work of local and visiting artists on a regular basis.
· Enjoyed collaborations with Kilchattan Primary School and mainland secondary schools in both England and Scotland
· Offered a programme of guided walks, talks, practical demonstrations and community open days held in the village hall which have attracted a keen response from visitors and residents. Themes for these events included Gaelic place-names of Colonsay, working with wool, an introduction to astronomy and guided walks on local flora, birdlife and to the abandoned village of Riasg Buidhe
Two previous studies (John Finlay 2002 and CADISPA 2005) highlighted both the potential and the need for a dedicated place to fulfil these aims and to make adequate long-term provision for the collections already awaiting a suitable home. They also demonstrated the educational, social and economic benefits which would result from the proposed centre. The majority of islanders who responded or contributed to these studies showed support for the proposal. Visitors, too, are keen to benefit from greater and more immediate access to information on the islands' history and environment during their stays. This was clearly demonstrated by the positive response to the 2006 programme.
Since summer 2012, when we opened our temporary exhibition in the Old Generator Shed, we have had many positive comments in our visitors' book both in appreciation of our limited exhibition on display and in support of our aspirations for the future. We have also developed links with Kilmartin Museum, the University of Ulster and Historic Environment Scotland through a variety of archaeological excavations, which we hope will conitnue into the future.
A New Phase
As we embark on this new phase Colonsay and Oransay Heritage Trust looks forward to further fulfilling its aims and objectives on behalf of the people of Colonsay and Oransay, with the support of the community and from friends and visitors to the island. We welcome new members into the Trust and now have associate membership available to friends of Colonsay far and wide. We look forward to keeping you in touch with our progress.