New winter opening times at the Shetland Museum and Archives

The Shetland Museum and Archives have announced new opening times that will come into effect on Saturday 28th November. The aim is to provide more flexibility for locals to visit and enjoy the Museum’s facilities safely over the winter months.

Sandy Middleton, Head of Engagement, said: “One of the main changes is that the Museum will now be open on Sunday afternoon, from 12noon to 4pm, and booking is no longer required on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Rather than having to book in advance, we are keen to give people the opportunity to simply drop in over the weekend to see the new exhibitions and enjoy the new family activities and picnic area.

“As well as clear social distancing and a one-way system throughout the museum we have introduced staggered entries and will conduct spot cleaning throughout the day to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff.

“We have kept our booking system in place throughout the week to allow visitors to have exclusive use of the Museum if they wish and we are providing longer slots to give people time to browse at their leisure. This service is available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 4pm. The Museum will now be closed to the public on Mondays.”

The archives will be open two days a week, on Thursday and Friday from 10.15am – 4pm and booking is still required, if these days are unsuitable alternative times are available on request, email All bookings are free and can be made online or by calling 01595 695057.

Alastair Hamilton, Chair of the Shetland Amenity Trust, commented: “We reopened the Shetland Museum and Archives to the public back in July, with a new booking system in place and we have worked hard to make it a safe and enjoyable experience for all. We have been delighted by the response from visitors and locals alike.

“In the winter months, our main visitors to the Museum and Archives are local people, so we work hard to put on new exhibitions, displays and activities to encourage them to visit us regularly. We are keen to make it as easy as possible for people to pop in to the Museum, so removing the need to pre-book at weekends is very important. At these times, we use one-way systems and staggered entry into key areas instead.”

Sandy added: “Although we are unable to host our usual winter programme, we feel we have a great offering this year for all the family to enjoy.”

She continued: “The already popular Fair Isle Chairs exhibition by Eve Eunson in Da Gadderie is not to be missed. An exciting range of children’s activities associated with this exhibition is available, including designing your own chair. Families can also get into the festive spirit with our Christmas Gallery Trail and make use of the picnic area situated in Hay’s Dock Café.

“Another display which will be installed next week, and is well worth a look, is that put together by Curator of Collections Jenny Murray; it’s a fantastic display of colourful Skovi Kapps (Russian wooden bowls) brought home by Shetland seamen in the Baltic trade.”

There will also be the return of the popular photographic display of Christmas images from the photo archive. Visitors are encouraged to come along and help identify faces so that the details can be recorded.

The Shetland Museum shop also has a selection of Christmas gift inspirations, including beautiful traditional wooden toys and locally-made gifts. There’s also the facility to browse, online, through a specially selected range of vintage black and white images from the Shetland photo archives and prints can be ordered and collected in time for Christmas.

Shetland Museum and Archives Winter Opening Times 2020.

Monday – closed
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – open 10am to 4pm, booking essential
Friday, Saturday – open 10am to 4pm, no booking required
Sunday – open 12noon to 4pm, no booking required

Thursday and Friday, open 10.15am to 4pm, booking essential
* If these days are unsuitable alternative times are also available, email

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