Harbour to Hill

Timespan is a cultural institution in the very north east of the Scottish Highlands, focussing on projects which explore Helmsdale and its significance within local and global spheres. The museum appointed Lateral North and curator Arabella Harvey to identify the object and image collection with and create a semi permanent exhibition which highlighted the strong connection to working the landscape.

Our concept ‘From Harbour To Hill’ followed the story of land use from the mouth of the River Helmsdale up though the village and the Kildonan Glen. Within the exhibition we identified fresh, brackish and sea water as the themes which drove the content for objects, stories and images.

The result was a space which explored the boom and bust of the herring fishing industry; the dark historic period of change of the Highland Clearances; the brief but feverish 1869 gold rush; the shameful burning of the last witch in Sutherland; Pictish mythology and the Borrobol Stone; and the history of domestic making and craft essential for the parish’s agriculture and fishing industries.

We also developed three bespoke oak framed cabinets which house key objects for the three key themes with a series of drawer systems which housed extra content for visitors. The exhibition was opened in spring 2017 and ran for an 18 month period.