A Wing and a Prayer by Katey Boal

Well conference season has begun and things are heating up here at Culloden battlefield and visitor Centre. We have been working hard all summer delivering programs for visitors and now our school bookings are starting to flood in.  It is interesting to note that we have had an increase in Secondary schools booking our programs S3’s in fact. It has caused a flurry of excitement here – the Curriculum for excellence must be bedding in. I digress – I am actually attempting to write about preparing for the MGS’ ‘Fortune favours the brave’ conference.

Lorna and I have had our planning meetings and our frantic trawl through computers looking for exciting and interesting images to add to our session. Why is it that you never take as many pictures as you should when things are happening?  Lorna has put the finishing touches on the power point and now all we have to do is work out the final kinks.  I am really looking forward to the event and seeing what other folk are up to.

Professional development in Action, Training run through the Highland Museum Forum
Professional development in Action, Training run through the Highland Museum Forum

Working in a rural environment can be quite challenging and opportunities for Professional development are scattered. It is the fine balance of having the money, time and support to have access to training. I say this as someone who works just outside of Inverness – train travel is relatively easy for me and I can go to Edinburgh and back in a day (provided I can manage the 7 hours of train travel).  There are many other professionals in remote locations across Scotland who struggle to access appropriate training. Our session is about how we attempted to address some of these issues.

Public Programmes at Culloden Battlefield and visitor centre
Public Programmes at Culloden Battlefield and visitor centre

Professional development is so important for our field, having the space to be creative, to bounce ideas around and the opportunity to be inspired by the work of others is fundamental for the continued survival of museums. It is in these environments that problems are shared and solutions can start to be crafted. I am sure that I am preaching to the converted but I really think that having that creative space makes for better museum professionals.

And now work is calling me back… there are invoices to deal with, school programs to advertise, events to plan, gazebo’s to return, rota’s to create and filing to do…

I am looking forward to Glasgow and finding out what challenges other people are facing and being inspired by all the great things I know are happening out there.

Katey Boal is currently the Learning Manager at Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre and will be presenting with Lorna Cruickshank  about the Highland & Moray Skills Development Programme at the Museums Galleries Scotland Conference 2013. “Fortune Favours the Brave” is the second MGS conference and takes place 12th September, at Hampden Park, Glasgow. The conference will centre around the theme of organisational sustainability. It will explore the wider themes of up-skilling museums’ staff and leaders, putting into place business-like practices, attracting investment, engaging audiences and forming lasting partnerships. The booking link for the conference is http://bit.ly/MGSConf 


  1. I chaired the session run by Katy and Lorna – it was an enjoyable session and a fascinating insight into the great skills development work being carried out in the highlands. A fast pace fun and informative session that everyone really enjoyed – thanks.

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