Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday 15 January 2008

New Visitor Centre at Culloden Battlefield

The National Trust for Scotland's(NTS) new visitor centre at Culloden Battlefield, near Inverness, had a 'soft opening' just before Christmas 2007 and will be opened formally in April 2008. Members of the Highland Members' Centre of the NTS were today given a guided tour around the new visitor centre. Unfortunately the weather today was not good, so few of us had much enthusiasm for exploring the exterior, but the new visitor centre is well laid out and leads the visitor through the run-up to the battle, the battle itself and its aftermath in a very gripping way. There are a number of inter-active areas in the exhibit, designed to appeal to a younger audience and the facilities (shop, refreshment area, etc) seem adequate to cater for a much larger volume of visitors than could comfortably be accommodated in the old visitor centre. I will re-visit the new centre in the spring or the summer when I return from my winter break in Spain, but my initial impression is that the new centre will be very successful in fulfilling its aim of attracting a growing number of visitors and holds enough interest to attract a younger audience, too. A couple of the images below are of the memorial wall which forms the rear of the main building; this illustrates graphically, by the placement of the memorial plaque, the disparity in numbers killed on the Jacobite side (to the left of the plaque) and the Government side (to the right); although the battle lasted only about one hour it fundamentally changed British history and, because of the role of Britain internationally, it can be said to have had a major effect on world history.

The external areas are still being finished off and because the building was completed in mid-winter most ofthe plants and grass which will presumably be put in place in due course have not yet been installed and what is there has not had time to grow yet and on a rainy day like today the surrounds, beyond the paved areas, are all quite muddy; I expect it will all look very different in the spring and summer, well in time for when large numbers of visitors arrive. The images which follow have been 'doctored' somewhat as it was a very dull rainy day and I wanted visitors to the blog to be able to see them clearly, not the rather 'gray' images which they started out as.

NTS Culloden Visitors Centre
15 January 2008

Main entrance

Memorial plaque

Close-up of memorial wall

Wide angle of memorial wall

Click here to see larger images.

The NTS's own news page about the new visitor centre is here and its micro-site for Culloden is here.

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