Shetland Museum celebrates Lerwick Up Helly Aa 2024

The Shetland Museum & Archives was full of activity last week as we celebrated Lerwick Up Helly Aa with a series of fiery events and extended opening times.

Our programme kicked off with a brilliant lecture from Linda Riddell titled 'Exit the Viking?’ which explored the attitudes to war and Vikings in Shetland in the early 1920s. Linda discussed the civic seriousness of the war memorial campaign, followed by the recreation and fun at Up Helly Aa a fortnight later. We had an excellent audience in attendance brimming with questions and discussion. A great start to the week.

The following day we organised a fun-filled morning for pre-schoolers, together we made paper helmets, shields and torches and held our own mini procession through the galleries, led by local musician Trevor Jamieson.

We also ran our Origins of Up Helly Aa tours throughout the week which were very popular with visitors. There was a lot of interest in learning more about the history of the festival and how it has evolved into the format we recognise today.

Linda a member of our Visitor Experience Team, leading a tour.

Tuesday 30th January - Up Helly Aa day is always a busy one at the museum and this year was no exception – we welcomed three school groups throughout the morning who enjoyed our Viking crafts and learnt about Viking artefacts with Jenny our curator of collections. We also ran tours and were delighted to have the Junior Squad’s peerie galley on display at Hay’s Dock.

Aith Primary School bairns get crafty
Junior Squad’s peerie galley on display in Hay’s Dock.

There was a lovely buzz around the building throughout the day, and it was great to see visitors and locals of all ages enjoying Up Helly Aa at the museum.

The highlight of the day was of course the visit from this year’s Jarl, Richard Moar and his squad. They sang their UHA songs and took the time to chat with locals and visitors alike showing off the craftmanship of their outfits, shields and helmets.

The day was rounded off in style as some of the Jarl Squad lit their torches and gave us a beautiful fiery display at Hay’s Dock.

Online Content
We also continued the Viking theme online, sharing interesting content throughout the week from the Shetland Archives and the Museum's Collection...

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