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Dufftown2000 group launches appeal for museum funding

From Press and Journal

A Moray community group is appealing for funding for a new museum in their town.

The Dufftown 2000 committee, which has been running for 15 years, aims to promote the area’s varied history and the whisky distilleries around it. It also arranges ceilidhs and is involved with the town’s whisky festivals.

In 2001, the group set up a museum in Fife Street, containing mostly whisky-related items. However, they could not renew their lease last year. The committee was forced to put most of its artefacts into storage at the nearby Mortlach maltings, and moved into a smaller building in Conval Street, which has room for only a handful of items.

Museum curator Rene Ramon said he was concerned that if the group could not secure funding, it might not be able to continue. He said: “We have done so much work on the museum. Most of our stuff is in storage as we’ve had to move from one place to another. It’s a lot smaller than our last building.”

The smaller premises has affected visitor numbers. The museum in Fife Street attracted about 1,800 visitors a year on average, but this year the volume of visitors has halved. The group is determined to expand its museum and move into the building next door, which used to be a shop.

They have already spoken to the present owner about buying it. However, the premises has wood rot and dry rot, and would require a lot of work. It is on the market for £35,000, but the group does not have sufficient funding to buy it.

Mr Ramon said: “The cost of refurbishment would be likely to reach £60,000 to £70,000. â€œWithout help of funding we won’t be able to go any further.”

He added: “We’re hoping to extend the museum to include more heritage displays. We’ve already talked to Forres Falconer Museum about any heritage items they have which are related to Dufftown. â€œThis will be a new start. We are starting again from zero, but without grants, we can’t do it.”

He said it would be ideal if the new building was in a central location, in view of the town’s well-known tower.

Mr Ramon’s wife, Glo, who has also been involved in the museum, said: “During the winter, we hope to stage displays and talks about the heritage of the local area, to keep an interest going.” Mrs Ramon added that the small temporary premises currently being used was “a start, but it’s certainly not big enough”.

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