The new Shetland Museum and Archives, ?created to integrate the current Shetland Museum and the Islands Archives, forms the focal point for the wider heritage and culture services provided by the Shetland Amenity Trust. The project is located in the centre of Lerwick within the category-B-listed Hays Dock, which was built in the early 19th century at the height of the herring industry and is the last remaining harbour of this period in Shetland.
The museum is designed to display 3000 unique artefacts from the islands’ extensive ?collection which includes the world-famous Shetland textiles and many finds from Pictish and Viking archaeological sites. The archive is designed to house the written records of Shetland’s past dating from the 15th century.
The core of the building contains the ?display galleries which are orientated north to maximise natural light and views over Hays Dock. On the upper levels lies the archives repository and the public search room, with staff accommodation located above. To the east, at ground level, the building ?houses a 120-seat flexible lecture theatre with full cinematic projection capabilities. Above that is a 60-seat restaurant with an external ?sheltered terrace and panoramic sea views. ?On its western extremity sits a triple-height boat hall providing accommodation for Shetland’s outstanding collection of historic boats.
The building’s external design reinterprets the ‘Lodberries’, the indigenous Shetland domestic structures built at low-tide mark with gables ?facing the sea. The building is constructed of traditional materials with harled masonry walls, a slate roof and timber windows. The timber-clad boat hall is inspired by the sails of the herring drifters which were built in the adjoining 19th-century boatsheds.
Photographer: Mark Sinclair