Between Islands: culture and life in Atlantic Scotland

Kirbuster Museum - Between Islands Project

Kirbuster Museum

Author: Rachel Boak [Curator]

A new display at Kirbuster Museum highlights objects connected with Orkney crafts as part of the Between Islands project. The project has been devised by Stornoway arts centre An Lanntair with the aim of collectively promoting the heritage and culture of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

This has been undertaken through the development of specific projects encouraging inter-island collaboration and, with financial assistance through the LEADER 2014-2020 regional cooperation scheme, a series of larger scale initiatives during 2019-20, including concerts at Orkney’s 2019 Folk Festival, lectures, publications, educational activities and short films in each island group.

Spinning wheel at Kirbuster Museum

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the planned large exhibition at Orkney Museum in Kirkwall exploring the inspiration and legacy of islands in the arts, crafts and literature of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, has been reconfigured as a virtual exhibition which we hope to make available on the Between Islands website (, YouTube channel, and on Orkney Islands Council’s museum web pages towards the end of 2020.

An Orkney chair, Kirbuster Museum

The display at Kirbuster is intended to act as a ‘taster’ for the Between Islands virtual exhibition. Among the objects featured are straw-backed and panelled Orkney chairs, a flax spinning wheel, and an early 20th-century sewing machine.

We are grateful to all our funders and partners for making the Between Islands project possible.

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