Work is well under way to transform a public toilet into a convenient place to delve into the history of Dunkeld.
As part of a £200,000 project, the former loos, based at the Cross, are being stripped down and converted into an archive.
The trustees of the Chapter House Museum bought the redundant building from Perth and Kinross Council last year as part of efforts to house their ever-growing collection.
It is hoped that the move will improve access to the Dunkeld Community Archive, enabling it to be viewed more easily by locals, historians and school groups.
The existing research facility within the chapter house, which is part of Dunkeld Cathedral, is currently at the top of a 45-step stone spiral staircase.
Over the years, the archive collection has grown significantly through donations from the local community, sparking the need to move to more suitable premises.
Among the items currently stored within the museum, is an extensive photographic collection from the studio of renowned photographer AF Mackenzie, whose subjects included Beatrix Potter.
The archive also houses the regimental records of the Scottish Horse regiment – raised by the 7th and 8th Dukes of Atholl for service in the Boer War and also serving in both World Wars.
Following the closure of the local regimental museum, records for this entire period were placed in the archive collection and enquiries relating to this unique set of documents are received on a regular basis from all over the world.
The acquisition led to the archive receiving Registration and Accreditation by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and the collection has also been assessed by Museums Galleries Scotland as being of both national and local importance.
Given the continued growth of the archive, the trustees purchased the former toilet block, which sits next to the Duchess Anne Hall and now hope to renovate it into something that can be used and enjoyed by the entire community of Dunkeld and Birnam.
It will feature a major area for public access to the collection, as well as an increased use in computer technology, storage and working areas.
The project has already attracted support and promises of cash from several organisations, including The Gannochy Trust, the Griffin Wind Farm Community Fund and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.
A total of £37,885 has also been secured from Rural Tayside LEADER Local Action Group, which gives community ventures the opportunity to develop their ideas.
Chair of the museum centre, Ted Carr told The Courier that he hopes the archive will have a bright future in its new home.
”I really do want to see all the information and items that we have stored away, due to lack of space, moved into the public arena so that people can see it and read and experience what we have,” he said
”For a museum to grow, its content has to be available and accessible to all people, and that is not possible in its current home.
”In the future, I hope that we will have internet access and interactive displays that can be easily used by children; and prominent displays on the Battle of Dunkeld and the Bridge Riots (fought over tolls imposed on the town’s famous Telford Bridge).
”We already receive many visits from overseas tourists who are keen to better understand the history of the area or trace family histories.
”The nature of our current facilities mean that the items we keep cannot be seen by everyone who might wish to view them.
”Our hope is that children from our local schools will come and do research on local history and events and then go back and write reports and stories.”
The current archive roomis open every Monday from 10am until 12pm.