Shetland Museum and Archives sits on Hay’s Dock; the last remaining area of original dock on the Lerwick waterfront, which is now category B listed. This is a perfect setting to highlight the strong heritage connection with the sea, and display just some of the traditional Shetland boats in the collection.
During the summer months, visitors are invited to board some of these boats for trips around the harbour and find out what it was like to handle these historic craft.
The dock area was authentically restored during the construction of the Shetland Museum and Archives building, which opened in 2007. Many traditional, reclaimed and recycled materials were used in the restoration such as natural lime for mortars and concrete, and reclaimed granite sets for the promenade.
Some materials reclaimed from the dock during restoration were used in other parts of the construction project. For example, the timber from the hull of the sunken Elenore Von Flotow was refashioned into the unique and stunning reception desk in the main Foyer area.
The pier store was also fully restored and is now once again used to store boat gear. While it is not normally open to the public, there are occasional exhibitions and events staged here when the public can access the building.
The dock area is also now home to art installations such as the Shetland receivers, from which traditional stories and music can be heard – ever changing depending on the wind direction and speed! The propeller from the stricken ocean liner Oceanic lost off of Foula in 1914 can also be seen.
Hay’s Dock is also home to a variety of wildlife. Over a dozen Grey Seals have been spotted at one time sheltering in the dock, and it is very common to see at least one or two bobbing around. Otters, known locally as a Draatsi, are often elusive, but have been spotted on a number of occasions. Other regular visitors include the Herring Gull (Maa), Fulmar (Maalie), Eider Duck (Dunter) and Gannet (Solan) to name a few.
Click below for more information on the history of Hay’s Dock.