• A close-up of the Vaila May sixareen as she nears completion - © Billy Fox
  • Jack Duncan and Robbie Tait working on the Vaila May, a sixareen built in the Boat Shed - © Billy Fox
  • A close-up of The Maggie, a Ness Yoal, in the Boat Shed - © Mark Sinclair / Phatsheep Photography

Boat Shed

The renovated Boatshed, located to the left of the Museum and Archives, forms an integral part of the interpretation of Shetland’s important maritime heritage - providing a real living heritage feature.

It provides the perfect environment for visitors to watch boats being worked on and learn more about the traditional techniques and skills, which would have been used to build and repair boats at this site for over a century.

The Boatshed is host to traditional boat building and repair projects throughout the year:

Current Projects

Loki - Originally called the Maggie Helen, the Loki was built in the boatshed in 1904.  She has now returned over 100 years later to undergo restoration.

Previous Projects

Spring/summer 2008 saw the first boats built in the boatshed since it became part of the Museum and Archives.  The boats built, as part of a trans-national project, were a Sixareen and a Haddock Boat.  You can find more about this project here.

Sixareen mast – Vaila Mae was the first boat to be built in the boat shed, and the first sixareen to be built in Lerwick in over 100 years.  Launched on 21st June 2008, visitors have been enjoying rowing trips around the harbour throughout the summer.  A mast is now being constructed for the craft, from a tree grown in Shetland.

Shetlopedia (an "online encyclopedia about all things Shetland") are currently hosting an online photo gallery showing the construction of the Vaila Mae (the sixareen constructed on site). To view this gallery, please click here.

Getting Involved

The Museum and Archives run an active volunteer programme.  If you would like to get involved with projects in the boatshed please contact us.