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The Orkney Museum

The Orkney Museum tells the story of Orkney, from the Stone Age, to the Picts and Vikings, right through to the present day. There is a large collection of old photos and activities to amuse younger visitors. The Museum’s collection is of international importance and it has a changing temporary exhibition programme.

The Orkney Museum used to be a house – Tankerness House. 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 North and South wings of the house 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.

The museum is closed during January and reopens on the 1 February 2023.


Is the museum fully open?

All our galleries are now open.

Do I have to book my visit?

We are not asking visitors to book.

How can I be sure it is safe to visit?

We ask you to use the hand sanitiser provided on entering and leaving the building.

Do I need to wear a face covering?

No, but free face masks are available if you require one.

Will I be asked for my contact details?


Will the toilets be open?


How do I get in?

Entry is through the arched gate in Broad Street and in through the main door. As the entrance-way is narrow, please be considerate of others.

Will there be disabled access?

There is an accessible door from Tankerness House Gardens and staff will be available to assist. The open galleries are all upstairs, but a stair lift is available.

Will the museum shop be open?

The museum shop is now open, selling a range of books and gifts, including local crafts.

Some information is available on our museums blog which can be accessed from the Related Sites section of this page.

Can I book a research visit?

At present the museum and museum stores remain closed to visiting researchers.


Facility is free of charge.

Disabled Access

Disabled access is available from Tankerness House Gardens. A stair lift is available for access to the temporary exhibition which is on the first floor.

Can I make a donation to museum funds?

If you wish to make a donation, please use the 'Donate Now' button below.

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS