In our award-winning Museum of the Isles you can discover the history of the Highlands and Islands through the story of Clan Donald, its most powerful clan. Six interconnecting galleries take you through 1500 years of history and culture in the area once known as the Kingdom of the Isles. A seventh gallery is dedicated to an annual changing exhibition.
Please note that as of 21 March 2020, due to the Coronavirus situation the museum and library are closed until further notice.
Young visitors can enjoy exploring the Museum with our children’s trails – we have a range available suitable for different abilities and ages from pre-school upwards. Visit our events page to find out about our changing exhibitions programme and school holiday family activities.
At Museum reception you can pick up a free audio guide, available in English, Gaelic, French, German, Italian and Spanish. We also have a guide specially designed for visually impaired visitors. There’s plenty to see and most visitors spend between 45 minutes and 1 hour in the Museum. You will need more time if you are researching your ancestors and planning to use the library resources.
We are proud to be Skye’s only museum fully accredited by Museums Galleries Scotland. The Museum has received a number of awards including Museum of the Year Award and Museum of the Year Research Facility Award.
From Lords of the Isles to Diaspora
The Macdonalds – or Clan Donald – were the Lords of the Isles and sit at the heart of the history of Gaeldom. Our Museum follows their story through triumph, bloodshed and trauma from the demise of the Lordship of the Isles, through the Jacobite risings, to the sweeping cultural changes where clansmen became crofters and chiefs became landlords. We end by looking at emigration, often under duress, and the challenges of making a new life overseas.
From bagpipes to broadswords, portraits to pamphlets, our collection brings alive this rich period of history. Wonderful portraits by Angelica Kauffmann and and Sir Henry Raeburn are on permanent show. The Gunna Breac or ‘speckled gun’, a rare 17th century firearm that belonged to the MacDonalds of Dalchosnie, is inscribed with the famous battles where the gun was reputed to have been carried, including Culloden.