Rushen Heritage Centre opens today (Tuesday, March 15) for the new season, offering volunteer opportunities for those with an interest in history and supporting the community.
 
The Centre in Bridson Street, Port Erin opened for the first time in June 2021, providing Rushen Heritage Trust (RHT) with a multi-purpose base to support its activities.
 
The opening hours for this season are 10.00am-4.00pm from Tuesday to Saturday, through to the end of October.
 
Doreen Moule, Chair of RHT, said: ‘We are really excited about the coming months, as it will be our first full season and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors and locals alike to the Centre. We are confident it will be much busier than last summer because of the easing of travel restrictions, along with an increased awareness around the Island of the work that we do.
‘Last year we had a wonderful team of volunteers who answered our call when the Centre opened and we would like to grow the size of that volunteer team to ensure we can provide the best experience for our visitors. We can be flexible on how much time someone wants to give to the Centre – some of our volunteers do a three-hour “shift” every week, some once a fortnight, others once a month. We have a relaxed, friendly and informal atmosphere in the Centre and would love to welcome new faces into the RHT family.’
 
If you would like to learn more about volunteering, please get in touch with RHT Coordinator John Quirk at rushenht@gmail.com or call on 464634.
 
The Centre has been kept open on occasional days during the winter months and the current exhibition, depicting the RHT book The Illustrated Roll-Call, will continue until April 2, after which there will be a new exhibition, A Year on Ballachurry Farm 1943-1944 (Part 1).
 
The Illustrated Roll-Call is a collection of illustrated Christmas greetings from 70 German and Austrian women internees to their landlady, Mrs Crighton, during their WWII Internment in Port Erin.
A Year on Ballachurry Farm is based on the first part of the book of the same name by Stanley Clucas, Captain of the Parish of Rushen. Stanley wrote this book in 2016 and it was accompanied by the whole exhibition. We only have room at the Centre for half of the posters at one time, so the story will be continued at a later date. In the words of the foreword of the book from the late Noel Cringle OBE: ‘This collection of stories and recollections gives the reader a picturesque and evocative glimpse of a past age.’
In addition to exhibitions, Rushen Heritage Centre sells copies of RHT books and assorted gifts and acts as a tourist information centre, in partnership with Visit Isle of Man.
 
New for the coming season is a reference & research area, which anyone can use to peruse a collection of reference books that have been donated to RHT by private individuals.
 
The Centre was funded from significant donations from several organisations and individuals, including Manx Lottery Trust, Gough Ritchie Charitable Trust, Elizabeth Clucas Charitable Trust, Lord Cockfield Memorial Trust, Celton Manx, Visit Isle of Man, Isle of Man Government’s Town & Village Regeneration Scheme, and a significant donation from RHT co-founders Hugh and Sandra Davidson.