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This is my third summer working in Shetland, and the museum was one of those places I missed out the first year I was here. The second summer however I found myself in Lerwick on a, how shall we put it, a not too pleasant day, and it was quite a treat!
I work at Hermaness NNR on Unst, which is at the far north of Shetland and about 2hrs drive from Lerwick where the museum is, if you get the Ferries timed right. So I arrived at lunch time, and first visited the restaurant.
The restaurant was very pleasant, with a nice view out into the harbour. The food was absolutely delicious, and there was a good variety of shetland style food on offer. I had the cullen skink, and it was delicious, I didn't find the food too expensive, but then it wasn't cheap either.
The museum was free to go in, which is always a bonus. The museum is nicely done out inside, with a great big piece of wood making up the reception desk. The shop is also here directly opposite the entrance and has a variety of items for sale, there are some really nice postcards.
In the displays there are a lot of interesting items, and plenty of information panels to provide an afternoons browsing. These items range from traditional shawls, shetland, unst especially is famous for it's ultra fine spun wool, all the way to various traditional boats.
During the summer there is the opportunity to go out in a replica boat, and they also have a large shed where they restore and build traditional replica boats.
Definately worth a visit, and will be the first place I take my parents and grandma when they come up to visit this summer, will be a perfect lunch stop after picking them up from Sumburgh mid morning!
Along with the Pawiak Prison Museum and The Rising Museum in Warsaw, the Shetland Museum is another one of the best museums I've visited in the last few years, there was a time where I'd had enough of visiting museums but it's affordable, interesting places like these 3 that makes me think I should visit more some times.
We found ourselves in Lerwick on a rainy Sunday, being one of the UK's most religious spots, it's difficult to find anything open or to do on a Sunday, when we heard the Shetland Museum was open, it was great news!
The factors that impressed me were: The fact it was free, can't argue with that!
The way the information was presented - well-spaced and categorised, enough imagery whether it be through displays with models or photos to spice up the reels of information.
The amount of information on offer, the whole history of the Shetlands from the earliest days through to modern-day, not only does it focus on historical facts but also does a good job of showing the visitor the way in which the locals have lived over the centuries. Some of the facts were rather startling (for instance that a day's catch would have taken a whole year in the past), it was also interesting to find out that people had made a living out of rescuing nearby ships in trouble or that had crashed, with the islanders having a reputation for not only knowing the waters but also being fierce fishermen.
The Shetland Museum is definitely the pride of Lerwick, it's a snazzy modern building and looks over a dock, we enjoyed it so much that we decided to stay for lunch. It was good, I never quite enjoy eating in a museum or shop restaurant but the service and food were of good quality. Pricewise, it was a bit dear.
If you find yourself in Lerwick, be sure to visit this wonderful museum!