The Museum's first displays opened to the public in 1981 and they have continued to expand in terms of subject and content as items were either loaned or gifted. Significant work is being done to negotiate the status of many exhibits from on loan into ownership of the Society. This is one of the key requirements of the accreditation application process of the Scottish Museums Council, a body that The Wick Society continues to work closely with to ensure it meets the necessary criteria.
In the early days most items were accepted on loan. However, as items with strong local connections were identified the option to purchase was initiated. On the 4th February 2002 the Wick Society bought the land and buildings to the East of the Heritage Centre to enable continuing development. On the 7 January 2004 the Wick Society became a Company Limited by Guarantee and the Wick Heritage Centre became The Wick Heritage Museum.
Wick Society is committed to preserving and promoting Wick's proud heritage for the inspiration of future generations. In this respect Wick Heritage Museum has developed positive links with schools and other youth groups throughout Caithness. Wick Society acknowledges the financial and practical support received, and continues to receive, from local agencies and businesses.
The Wick Society welcomes new Members and has an open policy on membership and it is hoped that those joining the Wick Society will at some point be prepared to offer support, time and expertise to continue its work. All work is on a voluntary basis.
Museum Section members are responsible for the thousands of artefacts that make the Museum unique. They plan the displays, and act as informative guides when the Museum is open to visitors. At all times, and particularly in the closed season, from November to April, members carry out necessary repairs, cataloguing and the many and varied tasks that are required to keep the buildings and exhibits in good condition.
Boat Section members give their time and expertise to restore, maintain and crew the collection of boats that are in Wick Society’s ownership. They also maintain the historic Old Herring Mart and the former Lifeboat Shed.
The Johnston Collection Section concentrates on the preservation, digitisation and reproduction tasks that unlock the potential of this incredible resource of historical images. They prepare Exhibitions and other events to make the Collection available to the public. (http://www.johnstoncollection.net)
The Oral History Section (Wick Voices) actively record, edit, catalogue and make available a range of memories of life and events in Wick and surrounding areas along with recorded information on the function and operation of some of the many exhibits and artefacts in the care of the Wick Society
If you have an interest in Wick’s important heritage and have time, knowledge, skills or other resources, please consider joining the Society. There are opportunities for you to make a valuable contribution. Please call in for a chat at the Wick Heritage Museum you will be most welcome or email firstname.lastname@example.org.