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Health, Wealth and Happiness project

District nurse Flora Ferguson astride her motorbike.

Nurse Flora Ferguson, the first motorised District Nurse in the county, 1926. 
Jack Lumsden Collection, Highland Archive Service, High Life Highland

What’s the project about?

Health, Wealth and Happiness is a year-long project exploring the fascinating subject of healthcare in the Highlands.  The project is run by the collections team at Inverness Museum and funded by a Covid-19 Museum Development Fund grant from Museums Galleries Scotland.

We’ll be examining both the past and present of health and wellbeing – from poorhouses and traditional remedies to the Covid-19 pandemic and modern medicine – as well as the unique challenges of providing medical assistance in a vast, rural landscape.

This is an exciting opportunity for us to explore a subject of special significance to the region. Just one of many areas we hope to highlight is the Highlands and Islands Medical Service (HIMS). Launched in 1913 as the world’s first integrated public health service, HIMS is recognised today as a forerunner of the NHS.

Find out more about the aims of the project here. 

How to get involved

We’re working with local communities to find out more about Highland experiences of healthcare.  Individuals, groups, and businesses are invited to get involved by recommending items, images, and stories to add to the medical collection and Collecting Covid archive at the museum.

You can suggest a donation by completing our healthcare surveys here.

Well Wishes Postal Project

Well Wishes is a mindful craft activity based on the tradition of healing ‘Clootie Wells’.

Through our postal project, your ‘Well Wish’ will join others from across Highland in an exhibition at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery in April 2022.  We will then compost the wishes, reflecting the tying of cloths at healing wells – decay of the fabric represents fulfilment of the wish.  The compost created will support new plant life in Highland.

Well Wishes is a postal project running Jan – Feb 2022.  It can be done by individuals or groups in Highland.  To express interest, please contact [email protected]

Health, Wealth and Happiness exhibition

The project will culminate in an exhibition which will be held in 2022.  This exhibition, the first to be curated by our collections team in over a decade, will launch at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery next spring.  In the summer it will travel to Caithness, showing concurrently at the Thurso Gallery and the North Coast Visitor Centre.  The exhibition will feature objects and artworks from the museum’s own collection, as well as items on loan from individuals and other museums across the region.

Further information

For enquiries about the Health, Wealth and Happiness project, please contact Museum Assistant Joe Setch at [email protected].

You can keep up-to-date with the progress of our project by following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.