Community Curators logo

A community programme at the Highlanders’ Museum


Are you passionate about decolonising museums? 

Do you want to attend free talks, lectures, and museum skills sessions?

Do you want to make sure that museums represent their communities?

Become a Community Curator at The Highlanders’ Museum and make sure your voice is heard!

About Community Curators

We want to make sure that our local community are represented in their local museum. This means listening to our community and understanding how they would like us to talk about the past, what they’d like us to include, and what exhibitions & events they’d like to see.

Community Curators is a way of allowing volunteers to do just that – with a series of programmes and projects throughout the year, Community Curators will assist with writing exhibition interpretation, creating object labels, uncovering objects within the museum stores, collaborating on historical narratives, and more!

A key element of the Community Curators project is to confront themes of empire and colonialism in our collection. We will be considering how decolonisation can be expressed within the setting of a military museum. We are particularly keen to hear from people who feel strongly about the display of colonial collections.

Who can be a Community Curator?

Anyone can be a Community Curator! The Highlanders’ Museum’s community is local, national, and international, and we encourage anyone who is passionate about museums and decolonisation to get involved. All projects will be based online so that no matter where in the world you are, you can have your say in our display.

Joining is FREE and we encourage everyone to get involved. We require prospective Community Curators to fill out a very short application form, and successful candidates will be invited to take part. Please see Upcoming Projects for more information.

We particularly welcome participants from disabled, disadvantaged, and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates, or any other groups that are underrepresented in the museum sector.

Participants must be over the age of 18, and must agree to the Community Curators Code (see below).

Community Curators Code

To carry out your volunteering role to the best of your ability

To meet agreed time commitments and let us know in good time if you are no longer able to make it

To treat other volunteers, staff, and members of the public with respect

To follow the Museum’s procedures and standards, including health & safety and equality & diversity

To maintain confidential information about the Museum and its collection

To agree to the Museum storing any personal details needed for you to undertake your volunteering activities in a secure database, in accordance with the Data Protection Act and GDPR guidelines

To allow the Museum to publish photos or videos taken of you while volunteering on our website, social media, newsletter, and for publicity or marketing purposes. If you would prefer not to agree to this, please email scotgrad@thehighlandersmuseum to let us know

To acknowledge that any intellectual property rights in the work that you carry out as a volunteer will be deemed to belong to the Museum

To not use any materials you’ve created as a result of volunteering at the Museum (for example photographs, research, etc.) outside the Museum without prior agreement from a member of staff

Why sign up?

Becoming a Community Curator will give you the chance to contribute to the museum’s displays, narratives, and exhibitions, with the opportunity to ask the tough questions. You will learn about the history of our collection and the regiments we represent, helping us to explore different topics and viewpoints that represent everyone.

You will have the opportunity to learn new skills, meet like-minded local people, work on exhibitions and museum displays, gain the confidence to challenge traditional narratives, and have fun!

Upcoming Projects

Get involved with our latest Community Curators projects:

Remembering the British Indian Army

August – September 2023


By invitation only: Remebering the British Indian Army through creative responses.

We are inviting three local artists, working in and around Inverness, to create an artwork about the British Indian Army (BIA). These artworks will form the centrepiece of an exhibition that will explore the contribution of the BIA whilst critiquing British colonial presence in India. The artworks will then form part of our permanent display, helping us to continue to commemorate the role of the BIA. 

The Sudan Campaign – an exhibition

November 2022


Join our second cohort of Community Curators with an exciting new project looking at the Sudan Campaign, 1896–1899.

The Sudan Campaign, also known as the Anglo-Egyptian conquest of Sudan, was a major conflict in the history of the Seaforth and Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders. A key narrative at The Highlanders’ Museum, we will be working with a brand-new group of Community Curators to explore the conflict’s colonial themes.

Community Curators will learn about the conflict, the objects, and how to write labels and interpretation for an exhibition that provides a balanced perspective of this colonial conflict. The result will be a Community-Curated exhibition which will go on display at The Highlanders’ Museum in January 2023.

Every Tuesday evening at 18:00 for 5 weeks starting 1st November 2022 (with the exeption of the exhibition launch event on 11th January 2023 at 18:00).

Online participation only. No prior knowledge needed. All applicants for the project will hear whether or not they have been successful by 25th October 2022.

Session Timetable

01/11/2022 – Welcome session

This welcome session will introduce the project, the museum, and the regiments, and provide a chance to meet the Community Curators! 60 mins.


08/11/2022 – What is the Sudan Campaign?

An insightful lecture delivered by Dr Nicole Hartwell of Selwyn College, Cambridge about the Sudan Campaign, with special reference to the battles that the Highland regiments fought in. Dr Harwell specialises in the history and material culture of colonial military campaigns fought by British and imperial forces in Africa and India, c. 1750 -1900. 60 mins.


15/11/2022 – Meet the objects

A tour of objects from the Sudan Campaign that will form the exhibition. The majority of these objects have never been on display before. You will have the chance to select the objects you would like to research and interpret.


22/11/2022 – Label Writing Masterclass with Chris

Join Chris Berriman, PhD candidate at the University of Hull, for an interactive label writing masterclass, covering context, terminology, appropriation, and relevant case studies from the Highlanders’ Museum and further afield.


29/11/2022 – Making African Connection at the Royal Engineers Museum

Danielle Sellers, Collections Manager at the Royal Engineers Museum in Kent, discusses the museum’s involvement in the Making African Connections project, which helped the museum to research and re-evaluate their Sudanese collections. 30 mins.

 This short session will be followed by extra time to ask questions about your label research and confer with the group.


11/01/2023 – Exhibition Tour

Join us for a virtual tour of the newly installed ‘The Sudan Campaign: A Community Curators Exhibition’ featuring your very own object labels and exhibition interpretation.

Re-thinking the Indian Rebellion

March – April 2022


Be a part of our first ever Community Curators Project!

The 72nd Regiment Duke of Albany’s Own Highlanders, the 78th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot, and the 79th (The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders) Regiment of Foot were all involved in the Indian Rebellion of 1857-58, making the conflict one of the most important events represented by the museum collection.

Traditionally, our labels for objects related to the Rebellion focus on regimental successes. We are looking for Community Curators to research, re-think, and re-produce labels for the permanent display that offer a different perspective, placing colonial experience at the centre of the narrative.

6:30pm every Wednesday evening starting 2nd March 2022.

Participation available in person and via live stream.

Session Timetable

02/03/2022 – Collection Tour

This welcome session will introduce the project and will include an after-hours tour of the museum, with special focus on the displays that will be re-interpreted. 60 mins.


09/03/2022 – Understanding the Indian Rebellion

An informative talk from Dr Jim MacPherson, Senior Lecturer in History at UHI, looking at the events of the Indian Rebellion, legacies and representations of the conflict, and his work dealing with similar themes at the Clan MacPherson Museum. 60 mins.


16/03/2022 – Exhibiting Colonial Legacies

Dr Nicole Hartwell is a research fellow at Selwyn College, Cambridge and has particular interest in material culture associated with colonial military campaigns fought by British and imperial forces in Africa and India in the late 18th and 19th centuries. She will discuss her experiences of undertaking provenance research on artefacts related to the Indian Uprising of 1857-8, with reference to relevant collections in The Highlanders’ Museum, as well as her co-curation of the Legacies of Empire exhibition currently held at the National War Museum, Edinburgh Castle.


23/03/2022 – Label Writing Masterclass with Chris

Join Chris Berriman, PhD candidate at the University of Hull, for an interactive label writing masterclass, covering context, terminology, appropriation, and relevant case studies from the Highlanders’ Museum and further afield.


30/03/2022 – Collaboration Session & A Talk from Heartstone

In this session, you will select which object labels you will be re-writing and carry out any necessary research, getting the labels ready to be sent to print. We will also be hearing from Sitakumari, Director of Dingwall-based storytelling organisation Heartstone about their important work telling the story of British-Indian colonial history to children.


15/04/2022 – Launch event

18:00 – We invite Community Curators and the public to Join us in the Museum or via Facebook Live for an official opening event of the new interpretation! This final session will feature a short talk about the project, an unveiling of the new labels, and reading out a selection of the Community Curators’ work! Approximately 30 minutes, 18:00 – 18:30. 


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