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The Friends of the Falconer Museum used a grant from Finderne Development Trust to promote the building’s re-opening during Forres Toun Mercat

By Garry McCartney

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Christiane Friauf and Dr Alison Wright from the Falconer Museum.Picture: Beth Taylor
Christiane Friauf and Dr Alison Wright from the Falconer Museum.Picture: Beth Taylor

THE FUTURE of a much-loved historic local building was promoted at a busy community event.

Friends of the Falconer Museum (FoFM) used their stall at the Toun Mercat to remind passers-by of the importance of the five-star visitor attraction that Moray Council hopes to reopen under a new operating model.

FoFM chairwoman Christiane Friauf confirmed the group was particularly thrilled with their interaction with children, helped by a £500 grant from Finderne Development Trust (FDT) they used for promotional materials.

She explained: “Families happily picked up our Falconer Fun Facts to take home, and lots of young people did the Falconer Museum quiz to win one of our brand new badges, including one showing our ‘Tortiphant’ emblem.

“For the youngest visitors, we had Hugh Falconer-themed colouring sheets and stickers. Throughout the evening we noticed children along High Street proudly presenting their Falconer badges or stickers!”

Passers-by were interested in the Falconer Museum all evening.
Passers-by were interested in the Falconer Museum all evening.

The Friends engaged with passers-by of all ages, many of whom had never heard of the museum before.

“We were especially touched by families who approached us and inquired when it’s going to reopen,” said Christiane. “We’re also especially grateful for the kind donations we received in return for our information - and for our soon to become famous Falconer Tea Loaf slices, baked with tea!”

The Friends are having ongoing conversations with Moray Council officers about the re-opening and hope to contribute to a feasibility study to be completed this summer.

“We are not involved right now,” said Christiane, “but we might depending on who does it and who is later going to work on the business plan. There is no opening date on the horizon yet as there are still a lot of hurdles to jump.”

FoFM treasurer Dr Alison Wright explained that the grant from FDT demonstrates the Friends are continuing to meet their charitable objectives despite the building’s temporary closure on April 1, 2020 .

“Forres lies outside the Finderne Development Trust area,” she said, “but families, including those from Finderne, want to learn what Forres has to offer. The Friends are grateful to FDT for supporting local heritage.”

Hugh Falconer.
Hugh Falconer.

FoFM are now preparing to mark the 152nd anniversary of the original opening of the Falconer Museum on Thursday, August 1.

Morning event, ‘Tea with Hugh Falconer’, at Forres Town Hall will focus on the Victorian natural scientist’s contribution to the tea growing industry in India. This will be followed in the afternoon by a ‘Birthday Bash’, including a historic costume competition.

Christiane finished: “We will continue to take every opportunity to remind the public of the invaluable treasure that currently stands closed and dormant in the heart of historic Forres.”

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