After almost dying in a swimming pool, a museum curator was forced to call time on a Moray visitor attraction. John Mackintosh spent the last 35 years creating an astounding collection of whisky-related exhibits. However earlier this year, he was pronounced clinically dead after his heart stopped beating while he was swimming. Thus, the 69-year old decided that he doesn’t have the energy anymore to continue running the museum located at the Forres.
The museum at Forres is an attraction that has been frequently visited by tourists from all over the world. However, it will be closing its doors for the last time this coming Monday after the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival this weekend.
“We get people from America and Europe visiting quite regularly. They like seeing the copper still,” said Mr. Mackintosh. “It just opens their eyes to whisky.”
Some of the items in his collection include memorabilia and artwork that was dated back for almost a century. All the exhibits that you can find in the museum that features shelves that were filled with glasses, water jugs, and bottles are now being sold.
“It’s all the old things, like penknives, ashtrays, keyrings, all the things that you don’t get from distilleries these days,” Mr. Mackintosh said. “I can’t keep it all. It will all just end up in boxes.”
There have been a lot of offers for Mr. Mackintosh’s vast collection and he is now expecting that there will be commercial interest from other businesses that have intentions on creating displays in their hotels. There are plans in place for transferring the running of the museum attraction to the Forres Heritage Trust. However, Mr. Mackintosh was forced to call it a day earlier than he would have wanted.
“I was clinically dead 13 weeks ago. I was swimming in a pool and the water was freezing. I thought I was bound to heat up once I started but I went the opposite way,” he said. “I ended up in the bottom and a defibrillator was fired to bring me back.”
“It’s not easy to do things now and I have to keep warm. I just don’t have the energy for it now,” he added.
The museum that was set in the old police station at the town’s Tolbooth, was opened three years ago. There are about 800 people who visit it yearly.
“John has a phenomenal collection of stuff. It’s his personality that makes the experience so rewarding,” says independent Forres councilor George Alexander, also the chairman of the town’s heritage trust. “We did try to get a retired distillery worker to take his place bet we haven’t succeeded. It’s a pity. It will be a loss.”