Stromness Museum

Stromness Museum is a small independent museum in the town of Stromness in Orkney, Scotland focusing on the town's connections to maritime and natural history.

Stromness Museum
Stromness Museum 2017.jpg
The museum's building on Alfred Street, Stromness
Stromness is located in Orkney Islands
Location within Orkney Islands
Established1837 (1837)
LocationStromness, Mainland, Orkney, Scotland
Coordinates58°57′28″N 3°18′04″W / 58.9577°N 3.3011°W / 58.9577; -3.3011Coordinates: 58°57′28″N 3°18′04″W / 58.9577°N 3.3011°W / 58.9577; -3.3011
OwnerOrkney Natural History Society Museum

Founded in 1837 by the Orkney Natural History Society, in 1858 the museum moved into the upstairs of the newly built town hall at 52 Alfred Street. In the 1920s, the Society bought up the town hall where it remains today. The museum was re-opened on the site in February 1931 by Lord Lieutenant of Orkney.[1] The museum is now owned by Orkney Natural History Society Museum, a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation, with members of the society electing a committee of volunteers to manage the museum.


The museum's Orkney naval history collections include artifacts recovered from the scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow and sunken Royal Navy ships, including a Dumaresq from HMS Vanguard.[2]

A number of items on display relate to arctic exploration, the 19th century Orcadian explorer John Rae, and indigenous peoples in Northern Canada. Artifacts include one of the only two Halkett boats known to still exist, and an Arctic medal awarded to the ill-fated John Franklin.[3]

Other exhibits include ethnographic items collected by Orcadians William Balfour Baikie and Jack Renton, and items from James Cook's third voyage which landed in Stromness on its return home.[4]

The museum's natural history collection includes displays of taxidermied birds, fossils, and molluscs, including items collected by Charles Clouston and Robert Rendall, and the Homosteus milleri traq. fossil discovered by Hugh Miller.

In 2016 the museum discovered a 5000 year old neolithic whalebone figurine in its Skara Brae collection that had long been considered lost.[5][6][7] In 2020 two Egyptian faience shabti from 1145 to 986 BC were identified in the museum's collection by researchers at the National Museum of Scotland.[8]

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "A History of Stromness Museum | Stromness Museum". Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Unrecognised Vanguard relics found in Stromness Museum". BBC News. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Sir John Franklin's Arctic medal found in Orkney museum". BBC News. 27 July 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  4. ^ "Ethnography | Stromness Museum". Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  5. ^ "Ancient Skara Brae figurine rediscovered in 'last box'". BBC News. 14 June 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  6. ^ Clarke, David; Anderson-Whymark, Hugo (1 June 2016). "A Re-discovered Figurine from Skara Brae, Orkney, Scotland". Past. 83. ISSN 0965-1381.
  7. ^ "Collections | Stromness Museum". Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  8. ^ "Scotland's treasure trove of ancient Egyptian objects uncovered". Retrieved 5 August 2021.