Our Collections


Our mission is to safeguard Orkney’s heritage, including artefacts, historic buildings, archaeological sites and local tales, traditions and memories for present and future generations, whilst supporting and encouraging research on all aspects of Orkney’s heritage - past, present and future.

Social History

Our Social History collection numbers around 40,000 items that tell the story of Orkney from its transfer to Scotland in the 15th century to the present day. It shows how life was led by the rich and poor, agricultural improvements and the development of industry.

Two World Wars saw Scapa Flow as a major naval base, while the scuttling and salvage of the German Fleet there has left a large number of artefacts, which is of international importance.


Orkney is renowned for its spectacular archaeology.  The archaeology collection of Orkney Museum is recognised as a nationally significant collection.  There are approximately 100,000 artefacts in the collection, spanning over 5000 years of human history from the Mesolithic to the Post-Medieval periods. 

On display you can find a cache of stone tools from Isbister Chambered Cairn, Bronze Age metalwork, Pictish symbol stones, and grave goods from the Scar Viking boat burial amongst many other amazing artefacts.

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