Kirbuster Museum was opened to the public in 1986 and is the last un-restored example of a traditional ‘firehoose’ in Northern Europe. The house has a central hearth, complete with peat fire, and a stone neuk bed reminiscent of the Neolithic interiors that can be seen at sites such as Skara Brae, Orkney. Kirbuster was occupied up until the 1960s and was once the home of the Spence and Hay families.
The site also has an Edwardian parlour and Victorian Gardens. The implement shed contains a collection of farming memorabilia and visitors can enjoy a game of putting on the green and explore the Trowie Trail in the back garden.
An excellent place to visit if you are researching your Orkney ancestry, to get a flavour of what life was like in Orkney in bygone years.
Kirbuster Museum, Birsay, Orkney, KW17 2LR.
Friday 24 July to Saturday 31 October
Friday to Saturday, 10:00 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 16:00.
Sunday, 13:00 to 16:00.
Numbers are restricted, and visitors should be prepared to wait for entry if asked to do so. A full guide to the site, including the buildings that are not open at present, is available from the 'Related Sites' section of this page.
Is the museum fully open?
The house and grounds are open. Visitors may look into the stable, but the byre remains closed at present.
Are there restrictions on the number of visitors?
Only three household groups should be on site at any one time. Only one household group at a time can use the putting green.
Do I have to book my visit?
We are not asking visitors to book, but you should be prepared to queue outside or wait in your car if asked to do so by a staff member. If more than three other households are waiting we suggest you come back when the site is less busy.
How long can I stay?
Please limit your time in the house to a maximum of 15 minutes and be considerate of others in the outside areas, especially if people are waiting to come in.
Can I get a guided tour around the site?
At present, staff are unable to guide visitors around the site. Our museum blog has detailed information about Kirbuster Museum and its history which can be accessed from the 'Related Sites' section of this page.
How can I be sure it is safe to visit?
Our opening hours have been reduced to allow time for regular cleaning. We have introduced physical distancing measures to prevent overcrowding and our staff will be monitoring this closely. We ask you to use the hand sanitiser provided on entering and leaving the site.
Do I need to wear a face covering?
Most recent Scottish Government guidance requires face coverings to be worn in museums and places of worship. Please ensure you come prepared with a face covering which will need to be worn for the duration of your visit.
Will the toilets be open?
One accessible toilet will be open for public use.
Will there be disabled access?
We are sorry that only a limited area of the site is wheelchair accessible.
Will the museum shop be open?
The museum shop will remain closed for the moment.
Will I be asked for my contact details?
Orkney Islands Council is supporting the Scottish Government Test and Protect system, so you should be prepared to give your name and contact phone number when entering the museum. Record slips are available on entry; these are stored in accordance with General Data Protection Regulations and will be destroyed after 21 days.
Admission is free of charge.
No dogs, except for assistance dogs, are allowed.
To keep up to date with the museums in Orkney, please visit our Facebook and Twitter pages available from the ‘Related Sites’ section of this page.
Can I make a donation to museum funds?
If you wish to make a donation, please use the 'Donate Now' button below.