The Orkney Museum in Kirkwall tells the story of Orkney, from the Stone Age, to the Picts and Vikings, right through to the present day.
The Museum’s collection is of international importance and it has a changing temporary exhibition programme. The archaeology collection, which includes artefacts and environmental material from all periods of Orkney's prehistoric and early medieval past, is recognised as being nationally significant.
The Orkney Museum used to be a house – Tankerness House. The north and south wings were originally manses for the Cathedral clergy. After the reformation they were bought by Gilbert Foulzie, the first Protestant minister, who in 1574 built the arched gateway that bears his coat of arms.
For three centuries this house was the home of the Baikie family of Tankerness, whose estate gave the house its name. It opened as a museum in 1968 and is an A-listed building. The Baikie Library and Drawing Room gives the visitor an idea of how the house looked when it was a family home. The neighbouring gardens are also well worth a visit during your time at the museum.
Today, the museum is excellent introduction to the history of Orkney, with displays taking you all the way from prehistory to the 20th century. There is also a small gift shop and admission to the museum is free.