On Saturday 31st January 2015 An Iodhlann held an Open Day to give more local Tiree folk the opportunity to come in and find out about what goes on there. The building was dressed with colourful bunting to draw people’s attention, and a number of staff, committee members and Summer volunteers were present to welcome visitors and provide additional insights into Tiree’s history.
An Iodhlann first opened its doors to the public in 1997 after refurbishment of the original building, known as The Reading Room (pictured left), which was built in 1886 as a waiting room for ferry passengers. The history of the building makes fascinating reading. The extension was built a few years after 1997, and the current permanent exhibition was opened around 2008.
Entry was free and each visitor received a free raffle ticket, the top prize being won by Morag MacKenzie. The event was a success with around 25 people dropping by over the course of the day (that’s 21 more than during the whole of November through January!) one person decided to join our growing family of members, and we raised a few funds through raffle ticket sales and donations.
Many thanks to all who attended and made the day a success, to the volunteers who helped out, to those who donated raffle prizes, and to Alan & Janette at the Cobbled Cow for the use of their ‘Open’ sign.
I went along to the open day but will have to go back as it merits a full half day rather than a quick half hour.
The layout has been well considered and there’s lots to see and discover. I was lucky to grab a few minutes with Janet to find out more about her role at An Iodhlann, here’s what she had to say:
My job title is Archive Manager, a role I have enjoyed since January 2009. It is the only paid position at An Iodhlann and part-time. My job is to catalogue and care for our library and all the historical artefacts, documents, photographs, and audio recordings, to welcome and assist visitors, to search the archive in response to queries from the public, and to keep an eye on the building’s fabric.
From time to time I work on additional specific projects such as Frasan, our ‘app’ that allows users to see some of our collection as they explore the island http://www.aniodhlann.org.uk/index.cfm?method=home.frasan . At the moment I am collaborating with our IT manager to create a new website, one of the aims of which will allow people to search the archive database themselves online.
Other specialised work is done voluntarily by members of the An Iodhlann Committee, most notably Dr John Holliday who is our chairman and does most of the historical research and collecting, and Mr Duncan Grant who is our genealogist and who helps people from all over the world trace their Tiree ancestors.