Set on the waterfront within a restored 19th century dock in Lerwick, Shetland Museum and Archives tells the story of Shetland’s heritage and culture. The museum chart the development of the archipelago from its earliest geological origins to the present day. Its galleries contain everything from delicate Shetland lace to Pictish art and even the first telephone introduced in the islands in 1883. Visit the renovated Boat Shed to watch vessels being constructed by hand using techniques handed down through generations, and admire completed examples suspended from the ceiling in the three-storey Boat Hall. The museum’s Archive Collections offers wealth of material related to all aspects of Shetland life including books, magazines, Ordnance Survey maps, court records and newspapers. The Heritage Hub provides assistance to visitor interested in further exploring any aspect of Shetland’s culture and past. Other facilities include a café restaurant, an auditorium, study rooms, a temporary exhibition space and shop.



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Category: Museums in United Kingdom


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kevin Nolan (21 months ago)
What a huge and lavishly stocked museum, considering the Shetlands' small size.
Richard Bradley (2 years ago)
A great museum, very well worth a visit. There's a strange lack of Viking stuff here, which they tell us is because they didn't go in for making art but I've seen more about Vikings in Dundee museum. That aside, there's some excellent permanent exhibitions. There's the story of Shetland which tells of the formation of the islands and the growth of the culture of the islands. This includes a broad and fascinating section on geology, with samples of many types of rock found here. There's even some modern art, with a wind driven soundscape outside the front entrance which changes with the wind. Random clips of people talking are played. Arty farty stuff, novel and well worth a few minutes to listen to it. It's called museum and archive and before I wrote this review I was asked if I thought just museum would be a better description. The answer is no. There's an extensive archive of books, other documents and sound recordings which you can go and study if you wish in the archive room. All museums have additional items not on display, which they study, sometimes put on display for special events or lend to other museums but it's not a common thing to allow everyone access to them in an archive room. Brilliant.
John Macpherson (2 years ago)
A very clean and well laid out display of Shetlands history and culture. Went here to pass a bit of time but ended up learning a lot about Shetlands past. Really enjoyed the fly around of an old fishing village in an Xbox they have in there! Boats looked brilliant as well, very well preserved.
Kieron Campbell (2 years ago)
Completely surpassed my expectations. Well thought out displays and very informative. Its a free museum and relays on donations so please give what you can.
Elan Tsarfati (2 years ago)
Fantastic museum - very interesting to see the history of Shetland. The museum is very well laid out and it is easy to spend an hour or two browsing the collections. The cafe is convenient though I found the service staff didn’t attempt to take an order or offer the bill until I literally tracked them down! Much less polished than I would expect for such a magnificent building. The food was nice though so credit to the kitchen staff. Beautiful view from the cafe as well.
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