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St Kilda Museum

Located in one of the restored houses at No. 3 on the 'Street' in the Village on Hirta, the St. Kilda Museum opened in 1982 and is operated by the National Trust for Scotland. Revitalised in 2003, this small museum includes a series of interpretative boards explaining the social and natural history of the island group, together with associated artefacts. The status of the islands as a UNESCO World Heritage site is explained, along with the life and death of the community, which became unsustainable and was finally evacuated in 1930 to be resettled on the mainland. Natural resources were limited; the people farmed animals, including the unique Soay sheep, but were also dependent on catching seabirds and harvesting their eggs for food, using their oil for lamps while exporting feathers to generate an income. Further displays explain the role of religion (strict Presbyterianism), the improvement of the housing and the arrival of tourists in the Victorian era. The house containing the museum was one of sixteen built in the 1860s by masons brought in by the island's Laird. These had originally been roofed with sheets of zinc but this proved unsuitable, causing excessive condensation and ripping in the gales, so was replaced by tarred felt tied down with wire. The museum is unstaffed but open continuously.


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