• The Customs and Folklore zone during the internal fit out - © Mark Sinclair / Phatsheep Photography
  • A small digger sits outside the Boat Hall - © Mark Sinclair / Phatsheep Photography
  • Looking across Hays Dock at the Museum and Archives - © Mark Sinclair / Phatsheep Photography


The need for new Museum and Archives facilities was identified in the early 1980s.  In 1999 Shetland Islands Council, which managed these facilities, asked Shetland Amenity Trust to take the project forward, as part of its remit is the provision of heritage and cultural services.

Shetland Amenity Trust took the opportunity to create a Heritage Hub - a multifunction visitor attraction which would form a gateway to Shetland's heritage and culture and link into Shetland's other heritage and cultural facilities, events and activities.

The B listed Hay’s Dock, the last original part of the Lerwick waterfront, was chosen as the ideal site for the purpose built facility.  The building was designed to sympathetically intertwine Shetland’s past and present mirroring the design of the Lodberries - old merchant houses which once lined the foreshore - with the original boat building shed to one end and the iconic Boat Hall to the other.

Sustainable materials and traditional craftsmanship is evident throughout, resulting in some unique features, including a reception desk fashioned from ships timbers recovered from Hay’s Dock. Discover more about our sustainable materials here.

The building and dock also feature a number of artworks, created as part of the Museum and Archives public art project. Find out more about this project here.

This project also commissioned a photographic record of the construction of the Museum and Archives.  Click here to view a selected slideshow as well as the full 625 image archive. All images are © Mark Sinclair, Phatsheep Photography.