The museum celebrates the history of Scalloway, with special reference to the Shetland Bus. By providing local information and advice needed to plan your visit we hope you will be encouraged to visit us and have a memorable experience. Our overview of the museum, its displays and facilities, are designed to give you a taste of what you’ll find when you visit.
Our museum tells the story of Scalloway and its people from the earliest settlers right up to Scalloway's position in the present day. Perhaps the jewel in the crown of the museum's displays is the section dealing with the clandestine wartime operation which became known as the 'Shetland Bus'. This section of the museum houses the most extensive collection of artefacts and information on the these operations to be found outside Norway.
Scalloway’s first museum was opened in 1985 by the Scalloway History Group and it ran successfully for 20 years. One of its main themes was ‘The Shetland Bus’ – the nickname given to a clandestine and dangerous operation carried out across the North Sea between Shetland and occupied Norway during World War 2.
In 2001 the Shetland Bus Friendship Society (SBFS) was formed to establish a memorial to the 44 men who died in the Shetland Bus missions. The memorial was unveiled in 2003. Go to 'The Shetland Bus' page for more details about the memorial and the names of the 44 men who died.
By then, the original museum had outgrown its old premises on Main Street, and so the Society instigated a six-year project to fund and create the current museum in larger premises adjacent to the castle.
The new museum was opened in 2012 by the Prime Minister of Norway and has proved a very popular attraction for visitors from all over the world. It is community-owned and run by the SBFS. It is staffed by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic group of volunteers.
You will find the following facilities at the museum:
- Toilets (inc. disabled)
- Free car park
- Gift shop with local crafts
- Tourist information point
- Baby changing facilities
- Views of the castle and harbour
- Taxi drop off area
- Free WiFi
We sell a select range of goods and souvenirs including knitwear produced by local residents. Most of the knitwear is made with pure Shetland wool.
We also stock knitwear made in Norway by a friend of the museum.
We offer hot and cold drinks and a selection of biscuits. A picnic table and seating are also provided on our patio in front of the museum and at our new maritime display area.
Full Disabled Access
Outside the Museum
- Disabled parking bay allocated in our car park beside the museum entrance (see the photograph)
- Very gentle slope between the car park and the museum
- No steps between the car park and the museum entrance
Inside the Museum
- The museum is all on one level
- There are wide walkways suitable for wheelchair access
- A wheelchair is available for visitors to use in the museum
- We have disabled toilet access
- Guide dogs are welcome
Facilities for Children
Welcome to Scallywag’s Haad
The museum includes a very popular children's area hosted by our children's mascot "Scallywag". This area is called Scallywag's Haad. A haad is the Shetland dialect name for an otters holt.
The area houses a variety of displays specifically aimed at children but is also designed to be highly interactive with many heritage-related activities for children of all ages.
As well as a range of books and toys, there are dressing up clothes, a child size Viking longship, a model castle and of course Rotsie the pony.
Parents or guardians are required to supervise their children at all times.
Telephone 01595 880734 to book in advance
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