Shetland Museum
Shetland Museum
The Shetland Museum houses an important collection of Pictish silver ornaments and utensils from the 8th century, along with exhibits on the archaeology, maritime history, and folk life of the Shetland islands.
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 Museum
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.