About Us

The Shetland Museum and Archives building was opened by Her Majesty the Queen of Norway and Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay on 31st May 2007.

The extensive and rich collections of both Shetland Museum and Shetland Archives were brought together in one building for the first time; telling the fascinating story of Shetland’s heritage and culture and providing an unforgettable visitor experience.

This Five Star VisitScotland rated Visitor Attraction welcomes an average of 86,000 visitors per year – a remarkable achievement for an island community of around 21,000 residents. The ever-changing exhibitions, displays and events in the building provide an entertaining, interactive and enjoyable journey through the history of these beautiful islands from the geological beginnings right through to the more contemporary social changes in the 1970’s oil era.

Shetland Museum and Archives is managed by Shetland Amenity Trust – a not-for-profit charitable trust with a core priority to preserve and enhance everything that is distinctive about Shetland's history, cultural and natural heritage, promoting access to it whether physical or intellectual. The artefacts in the Museum and Archive collections remain under ownership of Shetland Islands Council which operates a Service Level Agreement with Shetland Amenity Trust whereby the Trust operates the Museum and Archives service on behalf of the local authority.


Shetland Museum and Archives maintains a five star grading, the highest possible, as a visitor attraction through the VisitScotland Quality Assurance Scheme.

Shetland Museum and Archives achieved a Gold Standard in the Green Tourism Business Scheme. See their website: www.green-business.co.uk

Shetland Museum and Archives is rated the number one visitor attraction in Lerwick, with a five star rating on Trip Advisor, which has been consistently maintained for a number of years now.

The Scottish Executive named Shetland Museum and Archives as one of the five best practice examples of high quality and sustainable architecture in its National Architecture Policy document, highlighting the project as “an excellent example of a collaborative project where the design and fabric of the building seamlessly interweaves concerns for history, sustainable development and public art.”

Awards Received

  • Theme Park and Visitor Attraction Awards - Children's Visitor Attraction of the Year (2010)
  • Theme Park and Visitor Attraction Awards - Best Museum or Gallery (2010)
  • Semi-finalist - National Lottery Awards 2009 (best heritage project). (2009)
  • Nominated for European Museum of the Year Award 2009
  • Winner – BURA Awards 2008: Best Practice in Regeneration. (2008)
  • Winner – The Wood Awards 2008. The Museum and Archives won both the Commercial and Public Access category and the overall Gold Award. (2008)
  • Commendation – Scottish Design awards 2008: Northern Exposure. Hay’s Dock was also short listed in the best reuse of a listed building category.
  • Commendation - Regeneration and Renewal Awards 2008: Environmentally Sustainable Regeneration Scheme.
  • Finalist - Art Fund Prize 2008, and winner of the independent public poll which ran alongside this award.
  • Finalist - Guardian Family Friendly Award 2008.
  • Short listed – British Construction Industry Awards 2008. Short listed for both the best practice and Prime Ministers Better Building Awards.
  • Short listed - Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards 2008: Innovation category.
  • Winner – Shetland Environmental Awards 2007.
  • Winner - Glasgow Institute of Architects Design Award 2007.
  • Runner up – Coast Awards 2007: Best new building by the sea.