Stromness Museum

Stromness Museum
52 Alfred Street
Orkney Islands
KW16 3DF



01856 850025

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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.
Bone Necklace

Bones and Birds

  • 17 May 2015 10am-5pm

Learn more about the flora and fauna of the past with discoveries from Orkney's Neolithic Cathedral. Our summer exhibition 'Ness of Brodgar: Art & Artefact' will feature the latest information from site director Nick Card and, for this weekend only, two archaeologists will be running animal and fish bone workshops right here in the museum! Dr Ingrid Mainland and Dr Jen Harland will be bringing a mysterious bag of bones along, and showing you the equipment used to study them with. You'll see the special macro camera techniques used to discover the hidden world of bone structure and learn more about the wildlife that existed in prehistoric times.
Drop-in from 2pm to 4pm. Suitable for all ages.

Suitable for