The Loch Ness Exhibition Centre
Since 1980, this exhibit has been entertaining tourists from around the world that visit the area for a rare glimpse of Scotland's elusive creature known as the Loch Ness Monster or Nessie. In 1980, Ronnie Bremner recruited Tony Harmsworth to design a small exhibit in the old stables of Bremner's Drumnadrochit Hotel. The exhibit quickly teamed up with The Loch Ness Project, which was comprised of active researchers looking into the claims of a monster lurking in the waters of Loch Ness. Naturalist Adrian Shine led the project and the co-venture guaranteed the exhibit would always stay on top of the latest research results of the Loch.
In June of 1999, the exhibit was greatly expanded and reopened as the Loch Ness 2000 Exhibition Centre by famed explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. The new exhibit was designed and narrated by Shine, a cultivation of his over 25 years of research of the waters of Loch Ness. Today the exhibit is formerly named the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre (or The Official Loch Ness Monster Exhibition Centre) features a variety of equipment that was used in the hunts for the Loch Ness Monster and examines the famous photographs, films, hoaxes, and scientific evidence that has been collected thus far. It explores the legend and the ecology of Loch Ness itself from the start of time to modern day through seven themed areas with the very latest multi-media system.
Adrian Shine is one of Loch Ness's top experts, but has drawn criticism and disdain for his skeptical approach on the existence of the creature. As such, the exhibit takes a critical eye to explore the mythology of Nessie and looks into other possibilities of what people might be seeing on the waters of the Loch without completely discounting the stories themselves. This is in stark contrast to the other exhibit that lies in a relatively close distance from Drumnadrochit Hotel. The Original Loch Ness Visitor Centre (actually opened after this exhibit) is reported to take a more belief-based approach to the subject of the Loch Ness Monster than its predecessor.
The Drumnadrochit Hotel
Though the Drumnadrochit Hotel may now be slightly overshadowed by its very own exhibit, the hotel itself plays a large role in the story of its resident lake monster. Though there had been stories of a monster in Loch Ness for centuries, it remained more of a local legend into the 20th Century. In 1916, a local gamekeeper by the name of James Cameron burst through the doors of the Drumnadrochit Hotel and "his face as white as paper." He reported seeing a very large animal surface near his small boat, which caused him to quickly row to shore. However, the story of the Loch Ness Monster would have to wait a few more years before it reached the international stardom it does today.
The Drumnadrochit would again play into the story when owner Aldie Mackay was driving alongside the Loch. On April 13, 1933, her and husband would observe what they described as an animal between 12 to 15 feet in length roll and plunge into the water. Though Mackay was concerned that she would be accused of attempting to drum up business for the hotel if she publicized her story, she told her story to a local water bailiff, who in turn told the story to the Inverness Courier. On May 2, the paper published an article on Mackay's reported sighting and the world suddenly became aware of Loch Ness. Over time, the hotel would continue to play a large role in the legend as many of the research investigations into the mysteries of the large body of water were stationed inside the hotel itself.
The Facility Today
Today the Drumnadrochit Hotel is still family-owned and is comprised of 29 guest rooms, café, bistro, hair salon, and of course the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre. During the summer, the hotel runs hourly cruises on Loch Ness for those that want to look for the creature up close. For those travelers that reach Edinburgh, but can't quite make it out to Loch Ness, the folks behind the exhibit and The Loch Ness Project teamed up for the 3D Loch Ness Experience located there. For more information, please visit their site below.