To work with the American Years Revisited Voluntary Group on their  ‘Recording our Holy Loch Heritage’ project.


Dunoon, Sandbank and the Holy Loch were home to many thousands of American service personnel for over thirty years from 1961 to 1992. Individuals and families were moved here and experienced a culture, community and landscape very different from their home. A small rural town, that was predominantly a holiday resort, was suddenly exposed to a significant number of US servicemen (and later their families) with their own very different cultures and expectations. In response, there were protests, tensions, friendships, marriages, new families, immigration, emigration, cultural influences and significant economic impacts.

The first generation of American families and local hosts are now approaching their 80s and a wealth of stories and experiences which have not been recorded could be lost if we don’t act soon. In addition, there is an interesting and varied collection of archive materials and photographs, held by individuals here in Scotland and in the USA, which could form a fascinating educational resource for younger generations. Serious consideration is needed on how to preserve, store and display this archive to avoid losing it altogether. Not only was there a massive impact on Dunoon and its community over this 30-year period, there was also a significant impact when the naval base was withdrawn at very short notice in 1992 – that struggle to recover provides an interesting story in its own right.

The group believe that the development of a permanent archive and exhibition, which acknowledges the ‘American Years’, could have a positive economic and social impact on the community by attracting tourists from the USA to visit Dunoon to explore their family connections to the area, as well as helping to develop and consolidate an interpretation of recent heritage and place in the communities of this area.

Project Summary

The aim of the American Years Revisited group is to preserve the history and heritage of Dunoon and the wider area, in relation to the American presence from 1961 to 1992 and its impact on the community and the people involved. Our group was formally constituted in 2018, following the Think Dunoon Charrette in 2017, which identified a strong local interest in exploring the options to establish an archive, and potential visitor attraction, commemorating the area’s ‘American Years’ heritage.

This project is being funded thanks to a small grant from National Lottery Heritage Fund. It will involve older volunteers working alongside younger people to uncover and record the wealth of information from Dunoon and across the Atlantic and to preserve and present this in ways that engage with local people, visitors and people online around the world. The project will mark the 30th anniversary of the US base arriving in the area with a touring exhibition of pop up banners and talks in schools and community venues. The purpose of the project is to find new and interesting ways to share what we learn with the widest range of people, especially younger generations who may have less awareness of the impact of the ‘American Years’.

Contact Details

The full job specification can be downloaded below

American Years Revisited Project Coordinator Contract Details

The deadline is 12 noon on Thursday 7th November

For further information and queries please contact Ann Campbell on ann@surf-old.local