At Home – A new Heritage project for 2021

Seeing our home in a new light

Over the past year we have all spent a lot of time at home. This has been both in the building we call home and in Moniaive, the place we call home, among the people who help to make it our home.  We have juggled with working from home, home schooling, and worrying about our jobs and incomes. On the other hand, within our four walls there has been a resurgence of interest in domestic life reflected in baking, crafting and gardening.  Confined to our immediate surroundings, many of us have happily rediscovered the place in which we live by observing our gardens or walking in the countryside around us.  

An opportunity through heritage

The story of our home is part of our heritage.  We see this time as a golden opportunity to begin to explore and record that heritage. Moniaive Initiative are collaborating with Jackie and Chris Lee of Moniaive-based Artemis Scotland, which specialises in heritage interpretation.  Together we would like to invite you to participate in a community project that highlights Home and will focus on the Bank Holiday weekend of 1st-3rd May 2021.

Why are we suggesting this?

Recent studies have shown that heritage plays a powerful role in wellbeing and therefore the economy and regeneration. In terms of mental health, it is said to be “transformative” – when we feel good, we are more creative and make fewer demands on the NHS. It provides us with a sense of rootedness, connects us and helps us to belong. In short, it is about helping us to secure our future.

What is heritage?

Heritage is not just “old stuff”, it is the evidence history leaves behind. It can be a building, a landscape, a drystone dyke, a coin, a teacup, a tractor, a painting, a tradition, a language, or a belief. It is your traybake recipe, your lambing techniques, or your back catalogue of video games. It is the pub, the church, and even grandparents with another tale of the old days. It does not matter whether you have lived here for only weeks, or all your life: this is your heritage.

How can we engage with our heritage?

There are many ways, but a good starting point – given social distancing – would be to think of ourselves as heritage detectives, looking at what is around us. What is special about the place where you live? What is your house made of, and does it have any special features?  Is it old or new?   Are there any stories about it?  Who used to live there? What was there before your house was built?

Perhaps it is not the physical building itself which speaks of home to you. Perhaps it is an object with a story – a shepherd’s crook, a chair, a patchwork quilt, a photograph of the milkman’s horse. It might be an experience about shops that have gone, a gala day or a memory of the “great snow”.  And it’s not just the story of those who have lived in Glencairn for generations we are interested in hearing.  Everyone’s story is important, even if you have just arrived here.  Why you have chosen to make Glencairn your home is part of your story and the heritage of our community.

How can we share our heritage stories?

This is challenging during the pandemic, but we will ensure that everyone can participate safely.  To begin with we would like to suggest two simple ideas:

  1. A window into the heritage of our homes

The tried and tested method of village window displays has worked so well that we would like to use it again on the May Bank Holiday weekend.  We therefore invite you to be as imaginative and creative as possible on the theme of At Home. Think of it as creating a mini museum or gallery that will be part of a trail around the village.  People will be able to follow the trail at their leisure over the course of the weekend, according to whatever rules are in place at the time. It is not a competition, just some creative fun with some heritage information on the side.

The Trail will be based in Moniaive, so we are currently developing ideas to involve those who live in the wider Glencairn area.  One suggestion is for those outside the village to contribute to a virtual scrapbook. Another idea would be to create a temporary display around Macara Park, or to utilise ‘unused’ windows around the village.  We welcome your suggestions on how to make this work.

  • A trail within a trail

To put the At Home trail into context we will provide an updated heritage trail of village landmarks, looking at the stories of the heritage sites we know well, and few that have been forgotten. There will be some old ones, some new ones, some loved ones, and some neglected ones. Again, the idea is that you follow the trail at your leisure, within the current social distancing guidelines.

Where do I start?

For those with internet access, we recommend you start by checking if your home is listed on the National Record of the Historic Environmentwebsite called Canmore at:

https://canmore.org.uk

If you type key words like ‘Moniaive’ or ‘Glencairn’ into the SEARCH box, it will bring up Site Records on the front tab, and an interactive Map on the second tab. By clicking on the map, you can zoom down to building level.  If your building is overlaid with a black dot, you can click on that to access the information held on file. This might include date information, building construction details, or digital images or documents.

Over the coming weeks we will be offering further tips on research which we will share on the Moniaive Initiative and Artemis Scotland Facebook pages, and on the new dedicated ‘Heritage’ page on this website. We will also find ways to share other ideas to ensure that those without internet access are able to participate.

For your well being

One last thing, as with any community project, it is important to respect other peoples’ privacy. Any information that you chose to share should not compromise your own, or other people’s privacy, safety or security.  We ask that you do not reference living persons, or share (identifying) photos of them, without their permission.  We likewise suggest that you think carefully about the type of photos of your home that you share.  This is not about revealing where you hide the Rembrandt!

We hope this project will inspire you, and the local organisations and businesses that are part of our daily life, to begin to build on our heritage. Your suggestions and feedback are welcome.  We hope At Home is just a beginning; the past has a long future!