Stromness Museum

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Stromness Museum was founded in 1837 with the creation of the Orkney Natural History Society. The building dates from 1858. It has recently undergone major restoration, but still retains its Victorian atmosphere.

The lower gallery is full of exhibits relating to the local fishing industry, relics of the German High Seas Fleet (famously scuttled in nearby Scapa Flow in 1919) and numerous items relating to the "Nor' Wast" - the 19th century links between Orkney and Canada, involving the Hudson's Bay Company.

Particularly interesting is material concerning Orcadian Arctic explorer John Rae - who was the first European to learn, from Inuit hunters, the fate of the Franklin Expedition to the North-West passage in 1845.

The recently refurbished upper gallery displays the Society's fine collection of Orkney bird specimens along with displays of marine life and local fossils.

The Pilot's House next door is an award winning project which houses Inuit, whaling and maritime exhibits, as well as a reconstruction of the pilot's own living room. The pilots were local sailors who sailed out to the big ships visiting the port, to conduct the ships into port safely.

Venue Type:


Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Natural Sciences, World Cultures, Coins and Medals, Science and Technology, Social History, Land Transport, Maritime

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Free Open Day

  • 15 May 2016 2-5pm

One of the greatest privileges of living on an island is access to our amazing shoreline. There are strange seaweeds strewn across the beach, peculiar plants parade the salty, windy shore
we have otterly marvellous otters, super slippery seals and a whole scuttling mass of sealife hidden in our rockpools! Fish bones large and small are brought in by the tide, along with flints and stones, and ballast from ships of long ago, each wave bringing stories of our ancient - and modern - sea-faring traditions.

This afternoon of mini-talks explores a number of different subjects relating to the shore. Dip in to this bite-sized look at Orkney shorelife and see how much more you'll notice on your next coastline walk!

Each talk lasts for 20 minutes. Please contact the museum for more details.


Stromness Museum
52 Alfred Street
Orkney Islands
KW16 3DF



01856 850025

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.