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Wester Ross trailblazer is first curator at Russian Arctic Convoy Museum in Aultbea

By Hector MacKenzie

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Francis Russell (museum chair), Karen Buchanan (curator), James Brown (manager).
Francis Russell (museum chair), Karen Buchanan (curator), James Brown (manager).

A FAMILIAR face behind an award-winning Wester Ross attraction has taken on a fresh challenge at another independent museum.

The Russian Arctic Convoy Museum on the shores of Loch Ewe has appointed its first museum curator, Dr Karen Buchanan.

Loch Ewe was the point of departure for many of the convoys taking supplies to Russia during WW2, under the constant threat of attack from enemy aircraft and U-boats.

Many wartime buildings, gun emplacements and anti-aircraft batteries survive in the local landscape.

The popular museum was first envisioned in 1998 to commemorate veterans and tell their stories. Since then, it has been run solely by volunteers and, in 2017 moved to its spacious exhibition space in a former bicycle factory in Aultbea.

The museum has appointed Dr Buchanan with the twin ambitions of gaining accreditation and making its collections catalogue secure and accessible.

Dr Buchanan served as curator of Gairloch Museum through its award-winning redevelopment project. She stood down from her post earlier this year, expressing the hope that she would be able to help other independent museums achieve great things in the future.

During her time as curator of Gairloch Museum, Dr Buchanan acted as advisor to the Arctic Convoy Museum on curatorial matters.

See also: Curator 'huge loss' to Gairloch Museum

Arctic convoy veteran's poignant visit to local schoolchildren

An Arctic convoy ship in the ice during the war.
An Arctic convoy ship in the ice during the war.

Chair of the Arctic Convoy Museum, Francis Russell, said: “We are delighted to have Karen Buchanan bringing a professional touch to our organisation. We look forward to raising the profile of the museum and working towards accreditation and a secure future for the memories of our veterans.”

Dr Karen Buchanan said “The Arctic Convoy Museum has been ably run by a team of dedicated volunteers since its inception. I am delighted to join this team and look forward to helping the Museum board and volunteers achieve their objectives for the future.”

The Russian Arctic Convoy Museum is an independent museum located in Aultbea, Wester Ross. Further information about the museum can be found at https://racmp.co.uk/

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