Heritage galleries


The Heritage Galleries feature items collected by Leslie Firth, his father Ernest and brother Eoin, as well as other small collections and items loaned by local people.

Archive room


A dedicated Archive Room includes photographs, census records for South Ronaldsay and Burray from 1821 to 1901, and a diverse range of 20th century books and magazines. Special exhibitions from time-to-time display items donated by local people - from collections of old comics, to tools of various trades.

Heritage galleries


The Heritage Galleries upstairs paint a picture of working and domestic life in Orkney during the late 19th and early 20th century, telling the story through everyday objects, from tools to furniture.


Items from the First and Second World Wars, collected or retained by local people, offer personal perspectives on life in Orkney during wartime, when these islands were at the heart of world events, with Scapa Flow being the Royal Navy's main base. These include items recovered from the ships of the German High Seas Fleet scuttled here in 1916; sketches by the Italian Prisoners of War who built a chapel on Burray similar to the famous one on Lamb Holm; and military uniforms ranging from Victorian Volunteer Artillery to RAF World War II clothing.


There is a cornucopia of other collectibles on display, from cameras and carriage lamps to china shoes and shells.


The collections continue in the outbuildings, where an old day, laundry and tack room display tools and equipment used by Orcadians in the past.

Building the Barriers


The Building the Barriers exhibition has been developed by the Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership, to show the extraordinary feat of engineering which created the causeways now linking the islands of South Ronaldsay, Burray, Glimps Holm and Lamb Holm to the East Mainland.


Find out about what led to this amazing wartime project, the problems faced by the engineers operating in some of the fiercest tidal waters in the world, and the Italian Prisoners of War who helped to build the causeways.


The exhibition includes a scale model, wartime images and explanation of how this huge engineering project was undertaken in such a remote location. There are comments from local people who watched the Barriers being built, and displays which show how the Barriers have changed life in the linked South Isles.

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