118508: Museum nan Eilean

Museum nan Eilean provides the museum service of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council). Along with Tasglann nan Eilean (Hebridean Archives), it forms part of the Comhairle’s Heritage Service.

Museum nan Eilean was established in 1983 to provide the first professional museum service for the Western Isles, actually opening in 1984 at Stornoway Town Hall.

In 1995, the Museum moved to Francis Street in Stornoway, into an 1898 building which had originally served as the Secondary Department of the Nicolson Institute. The move followed an extensive programme of works (from 1992 to 1995) to convert the building into a museum; during this period the Museum was closed to the public whilst temporarily housed in the Comhairle’s education department.

Museum nan Eilean collections are now exhibited at two sites: Museum nan Eilean (Stornoway) and Museum nan Eilean (Uist and Barra).

Museum nan Eilean (Stornoway) moved to a modern purpose built extension to the restored Lews Castle in Stornoway. This new site opened on 14th July 2016 (its previous Francis Street home having been closed to the public from 2012 to 2016 during the development period).

Museum nan Eilean (Uist and Barra) is located in Sgoil Lionacleit, the community school on the Isle of Benbecula.

The Museums hold collections of objects, photographs, prints and paintings illustrating the archaeology, social, domestic and economic history of the islands.

The Museum’s galleries look at the stories of the Western Isles and their islanders.  Visitors can:

  • discover how the distinctiveness of the Outer Hebrides is shaped by a unique combination of land, sea and people.
  • hear details about different people’s lives; the diversity of experience, opinion and perception of living life on an Island.
  • examine how people have lived and worked from the earliest times to the present day,  how their culture is expressed through the Gaelic language, religion and community life.

Significant loans from National Museums Scotland and the British Museum, including the world-famous Lewis Chessmen, alongside unique objects from Museum nan Eilean’s own collection, set the modern culture of the Western Isles in their historic context.

Online presence:
Website: https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/leisure-sport-and-culture/museum-nan-eilean/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MuseumnanEilean

Contact details: museum@cne-siar.gov.uk

Record Type:
Type Of Organisation:
Local government
Record Maintained by: