The Orkney Museum

Categories: Made in Orkney, Visitor Attractions

The Orkney Museum tells the story of Orkney, from the Stone Age, to the Picts and Vikings, right through to the present day.

There is a large collection of old photos and plenty of activities to amuse younger visitors. The Museum’s collection is of international importance and it has a changing temporary exhibition programme.

The museum is housed in Tankerness House. For three centuries this was the home of the Baikie family of Tankerness, whose estate gave the house its name. It opened as a museum in 1968 and is an A-listed building. The Baikie Library and Drawing Room gives the visitor an idea of how the house looked when it was a family home.

The North and South wings of the house were originally manses for the Cathedral clergy. After the reformation they were bought by Gilbert Foulzie, the first Protestant minister, who in 1574 built the arched gateway that bears his coat of arms.

Disabled access is available from Tankerness Gardens, which is a lovely tranquil space in the heart of Kirkwall. There are 2 single stair lifts in the museum. Access to the 19th and 20th century galleries can be facilitated from Broad Street if museum staff are contacted either in person or by phoning 01856 873191.


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This project was part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney Leader 2007-13 Programme.