Museum nan Eilean holds collections relating to the social history, regional ethnography and archaeology of the Outer Hebrides. Social, historical and ethnographic artefacts date mainly from the 19th / 20th centuries and the archaeology collections span from the Mesolithic to the present day.
There are approximately 6,000 artefacts (not including archaeological assemblages, oral histories and ephemera) relating to the Outer Hebrides. The artefacts range from small coins and pottery fragments to very large items, such as a full-sized threshing machine and a Grimsay boat.
Please note that cataloguing and photography work is ongoing, so the list below gives only a taste of our collections. We are also hoping to add our searchable museum database as a feature to the website in future. In the meantime please contact the Museum Service if you have a specific query.
The collections comprise:
- Cinema Sgìre
- Domestic life
- Fine Art & Decorative Art
- Gibson Collection
- Harris Tweed
- Industry & Commerce
- Natural History
- Oral histories/ Gaelic audio recordings
- St Kilda
- Textiles & Costume
The museum collections are made up of allocations via Treasure Trove Scotland, donations, transfers and purchases. The museum manages a small but growing handling collection of replicas and duplicate originals for use in exhibitions, outreach events and loans to other organisations.
Museum nan Eilean also manages, stores and has the use of two discrete collections of approximately 2,000 items: the Calbost Collection, owned by the Calbost Trust and the LMT collection owned by the Lewis Museum Trust.
Loans from the National Museum of Scotland
Museum nan Eilean has renewable loan agreements with National Museums Scotland for approximately 80 artefacts ranging from archaeological finds to a 3-wheeler car.
Loans from the British Museum
Museum nan Eilean has renewable loan agreements with the British Museum for six internationally significant Lewis Chesspieces.