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200,000 people – and counting – have watched a Highland Archive education series with viewers from USA, Germany, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand avidly tuning in

By Imogen James

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Lorna Steele-McGinn.
Lorna Steele-McGinn.

The educational films, Learn with Lorna, cover the Highlands and its rich heritage, and have caught attention worldwide.

Viewers have tuned in from the USA, Germany, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Holland and New Zealand.

The idea of weekly live talks came from Lorna Steele-McGinn who works with the Highland Archive Centre.

Lorna said: “It’s overwhelming to be reaching a worldwide audience and it just goes to show the widespread interest in the Highlands’ unique and captivating history and the endless love people have for a good story.

“I love working with historic documents, uncovering stories, and connecting people to the Highlands’ past.

“I’ve covered a wide range of topics - showcasing stories from all of our centres from items in the collections such as diaries and letters, to diverse topics from the First World War, crime and punishment, the Jacobites, salmon fishing, shinty and the Highland Clearances – and there’s plenty more to come.”

Archivist Alison Mason said: “We issued a survey asking viewers to give us their thoughts about it and were delighted when 97% of people said the series had increased their knowledge of the Highland Archive Service collections and 84% saying it had changed their understanding of what an archive is and does.

“It was particularly nice to learn that 99% of those surveyed felt that Learn with Lorna had made a difference to them during the pandemic – the main reason that this started up in the first place.”

The Archive Centre had to close to the public in March 2020 due to coronavirus and the talks were a good way to keep engaging.

The series will continue to run at 11am every Thursday and can be found on Facebook.

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