Home and Land

The home and land section of the gallery explores domestic life and subsistence agriculture from 1500-1800. This was the way that most Shetlanders lived their lives for centuries.

Entering the zone, you will discover displays detailing the life of the ruling and political elite before discovering the agricultural subsistence life of the majority. Islanders built their own homes, made their own garments and implements and grew their own crops. Everyone worked together, and lives were ruled by the seasons. Survival played a greater role in life than money.

Home and land themes include: Buildings, livestock, crops, farming methods, tenant farmers and their landlords and ministers.

Highlights include:

  • Animals, such as a Shetland cow – the most important possession any family owned, and a Shetland Grice – a now extinct species of pig.
  • Kishie – an everyday straw container used in islands without wood.
  • The Gunnister Man - a lifesize replica of a man found in Northmavine and believed to have lived around 1700. His clothes and tools were also replicated and the project culminated in a very successful exhibition in 2009.