Outer Hebrides Between Islands Exhibition Launched Online

A new exciting virtual exhibition ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ has been launched in the Outer Hebrides by Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean, the museum and archive service of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

The exhibition has been created as part of the wider Between Islands project managed by An Lanntair. One of the project aims was to highlight the historical links between the Islands of Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides whilst exploring the modern-day similarities and differences. It was funded by An Lanntair and the LEADER 2014-2020 regional cooperation project. 

The exhibition is available in both Gaelic and English and is the culmination of two years’ work by Museum & Tasglann nan Eilean staff working alongside Shetland Museum & Archives, and Orkney Museums.   

The exhibition explores some of the misconceptions about life on the island groups of Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides by looking at island designers, pioneering industries and world-leading examples from our islands alongside unique and extraordinary island traditions.  Highlights include two specially commissioned films showing the haunting Skekler outfit from Shetland Museums and the bejewelled ploughboy outfit from Orkney Museums’ collections.

Exhibitions examining the project themes, and the collections of each museum, through a series of inter-island loans between the museums had been scheduled to take place in summer 2020, but had to be reconfigured as online exhibitions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Caitriona MacCuish, Museum nan Eilean, explains: “Although Covid-19 has presented challenges we hope that our new online exhibition will allow wider audiences to engage with our heritage and the collections from all three museums. Being a part of this project has established new relationships between the three islands museums and archives which we hope to develop further in future.”

Each museum interpreted the overall theme creatively to look at the collections and the historical cultural links between the three island groups of Shetland, Orkney, and the Outer Hebrides so that three individual and distinct exhibitions are available to view. ORKNEY: BETWEEN ISLANDS (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) looks at Island writers, artists and makers including a section on Harris Tweed. FAIR GAME  sees Shetland Museum and Archives examine three customs that are nowadays seen by some as ‘politically incorrect’: hunting seabirds and eggs, whaling, and harvesting peat.

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