Timespan Heritage and Arts Centre is a museum of social and natural history, contemporary art gallery, archive, gift shop, herb garden and cafe.
Timespan Museum is the starting point on a journey through the colourful historical themes of the area. It provides the visitor with a wealth of information about past ways of life and some of the more turbulent events in Sutherland’s history. It combines local stories and folklore from the past and present with a multi-faceted collection of objects spanning thousands of years.
The virtual reality room transports you back to the township of Caen two miles north-west of Helmsdale, where everything is exactly as it was 200 years ago. Based on Ordinance Survey data, Caen virtual world is an authentic reconstruction of the landscape with its longhouses and outbuildings both inside and out. Thanks to finds from an excavation carried out in Summer 2013, the virtual model is even more accurate.
There is also a selection of five animated films in the virtual reality room about the areas myths, legends and superstitions. The younger visitors can meet our own last wolf and find out why Helmsdale fishermen were so superstitious! Transport yourself back to the time of the Vikings with the story of Frakkok, learn about the tale of two dogs and what life was like living in a croft in Gartymore.
The museum’s reconstructed croft, byre, smithy, and shop from 150 years ago capture many aspects of a way of life – now long gone. Each reconstruction has its own audio narrative including a Gaelic lullaby and recollections about one of Helmsdale’s best loved blacksmiths.
The visitor can enjoy an audio tour of the museum with additional informative material on each area and translated sheets are available in German, French, Italian, Dutch and Spanish. The younger museum visitors can enjoy quizzes and puzzles and a selection of replica objects.