Caithness Horizons Museum & Art Gallery
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The interior of the town hall has been rebuilt to create a combination museum, gallery, tourist information centre, and cafe. There are two main galleries on the ground floor. One looks at the history of the Dounby nuclear site, and its impact on Caithness. There is a large collection of memorabilia about Dounby, including original newspaper reports and information on how the research carried out at Dounby has had a worldwide impact.
The other main gallery on the ground floor displays Pictish and early Christian carved stones. Among these are the remarkable Ulbster Stone, carved in the 8th century. The Ulbster Stone is unusual in that it has a cross carved on each face, rather than on just one.
Along with the Christian cross symbols are a mix of traditional Pictish symbols including a V-rod, fish, hippocamp, crescents, serpent, and the bizarre 'Pictish beast'. The Ulbster Stone is thought to have more Pictish symbols than any other carved stone, and looking at it, that's an easy claim to believe. What is remarkable is just how clear and crisp the carvings are, even after the passage of some 1300 years.
Displayed near the Ulbster Stone is the Skinnet Stone, also carved on both faces, and further early Christian cross-slabs.
The upper floor of the museum is taken up with displays of local history, and a special exhibit on the life and times of Robert Dick. Dick was a baker by trade, but also a self-taught geologist and botanist, whose work influenced some of the most important scientists in the early Victorian era.
Caithness Horizons produce an incredibly useful series of brochures on places to visit in Caithness, from brochs to standing stones, ancient cairns to wildlife habitats. I really enjoyed my visit and consider Caithness Horizons a 'must visit' stop if you're planning to explore Caithness.
We've just received word that Caithness Horizons closed its doors on 21 February 2019 due to budget cuts. That's so sad, as the museum was excellent. We will update this page as soon as we know more, but in the meantime please do NOT make plans to visit!
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About Caithness Horizons Museum & Art Gallery
Address: Old Town Hall, High Street, Thurso, Highlands, Caithness, Scotland, KW14 8AJ
Attraction Type: Museum
Location: on the A9
Website: Caithness Horizons Museum & Art Gallery
OS: ND120 685
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
Find other attractions tagged with:
Pictish (Architecture) -
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Castle Lodge - 0.3 miles (Historic Building)
Mary Ann's Cottage - 5.9 miles (Museum)
St Mary's Chapel, Crosskirk - 6 miles (Historic Church)
Cnoc Freiceadain Long Cairns - 6.9 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Castle of Mey - 10.8 miles (Castle)
Keiss Castle - 15.2 miles (Castle)
Caithness Broch Centre - 15.7 miles (Museum)
Nybster Broch - 15.8 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Nearest Accommodation to Caithness Horizons Museum & Art Gallery:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Caithness Horizons Museum & Art Gallery. '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.