History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
This intriguing heritage museum is located on historic Hay's Dock in Lerwick, in an area lined with boat-building sheds and merchant's houses. The dock was built in the 1820s by the Hay & Ogilvy Company, and within 2 decades the company owned 100 fishing boats, and the dock was a thriving hub of shops, warehouses, smithies, a sawmill, and a chandler.
As quickly as the dock thrived, it collapsed, and by 1842 the Company was bankrupt. But disaster was followed by regeneration, and the company reformed as Hay & Company and switched to import and export, as well as relaunching the shipyard. After WWI the dock went into decline yet again, but has now been restored and given a new life as a heritage area; a glimpse into Shetland's rich maritime and social history.
The Shetland Museum holds a vast collection of artefacts covering the heritage of Shetland. There are separate collections of natural history, archaeology, social history, traditional life, industry, fishing, textiles, and maritime history. Unlike some museums which seem to collect objects from around the world, the museum only collects objects related directly to Shetland, and either used here or made here in the islands.
See displays of local geology including rocks and gems, and prehistoric finds from the Neolithic period (4000 BC) to the present. Unusual finds in the archaeology gallery include glass beads of Roman origin from the Iron Age broch at Clickimin, a Norse millstone from Underhoull, and painted pebbles from Upper Scalloway. There are Neolithic knives, stones carved with Pictish symbols, and a Stone Age burial urn found by local children.
The social history displays include crofting tools and equipment used by blacksmiths, shipwrights, and cobblers, and a wonderful collection of costumes used in the annual Up-Helly-Aa celebration.
Give Shetland's long history in the fishing industry it is no surprise to see a large collection related to maritime activity and fishing. See everything from buoys to lanterns, lines to sinkers, and a display of whaling equipment.
If it relates to Shetland heritage, you'll find it here!
As of this writing, Shetland Museum is open daily, but please do check the official website for current opening details.
About Shetland Museum
Address: Hay's Dock, Lerwick, Mainland, Shetland, Shetland, Scotland, ZE1 0WP
Attraction Type: Museum
Location: Located at Hay's Dock, a 10 minute walk from Lerwick town centre. Close to Viking Bus Centre for public transport, and there is a public parking area very near the museum.
Website: Shetland Museum
Phone: 01595 695 057
Photo Credit: Stuart Wilding, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Fort Charlotte - 0.2 miles (Historic Building)
Clickimin Broch - 0.8 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Bod of Gremista & Shetland Textile Museum - 1 miles (Museum)
Scalloway Castle - 4.5 miles (Castle)
Mousa Broch - 11.3 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Stanydale Temple - 12.7 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Shetland Croft House Museum - 17.5 miles (Museum)
Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement - 20.5 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Nearest Accommodation to Shetland Museum:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Shetland Museum. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.
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