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Launch of new app on Highland Clearances

24 April 2012

Launch of new app on Highland Clearances

Museum Without Walls has announced the launch of a new interactive tour guide which will tell the story of the Highland Clearaces

A new interactive tour guide which will tell the story of the Highland Clearances is to be launched by Museum Without Walls. The Scotland's Clearances Trail App will be launched on 19 May in Helmsdale, Sutherland, by Timespan Museum and Arts Centre. The App, which will cost 69p to download, has been developed by Timespan and funded by grants of £22,407 and £45,900 respectively, by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) and The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). It will prepare the way for the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of large scale clearances of men, women and children from the Strath of Kildonan in 2013. All monies raised from sales of the App will go to Timespan and contribute towards the maintenance of the trail.

Around 100 people left the Strath of Kildonan in 1813, to be replaced by thousands of sheep, as they were more profitable than people. A boatload of the displaced residents sailed to Hudson Bay, in northeastern Canada, where they were forced to build their own shelters as the savage Canadian winter closed in. The following spring, they began an epic 1000 mile journey, many walking in handmade snowshoes, before reaching the Red River Settlement around Lake Winnipeg in Canada where Scottish aristocrat, the Earl of Selkirk, had promised them land. One of these individuals was Catherine McPherson, who nursed the sick after typhoid broke out aboard ship and who survived a severe flood that carried away her log-built home. Catherine’s story comes alive on the App. The area around the Red River went on to become the city of Winnipeg in Manitoba. It is hoped the App will reach across the Atlantic to the ancestors of the displaced Sutherland families.

Joanne Orr, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland, one of the organisations which helped fund Museum without Walls and coordinators of Festival of Museums, said: 'We are delighted to support this innovative project which will engage both local communities and worldwide audiences with the history of the Strath of Kildonan. We have highlighted Timespan’s forward-thinking use of digital media as an exemplar to inspire the sector in the National Strategy for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries published last week. We welcome the project being launched during our Festival of Museums weekend alongside other events around the country that will celebrate the inspirational experiences our museums have to offer.'

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Last Updated: 10th May 2012