In the 19th century many people left the small county of Nairnshire to explore "foreign lands", either as adventurers or emigrants. They sent back their stories and artefacts. Others, who stayed closer to home, explored the past of Nairnshire and left us with a rich history of the area.
From 1858, the Nairn Museum became the treasure store of unusual objects gathered locally and from around the world and includes exhibits from the old Fishertown Museum that tells the story of the fisherfolk of Nairn and their close-knit community, with whole families supporting the fishermen at sea by being involved with all the associated work of mending nets, baiting lines, and providing warm clothing. People like Dr John Grigor had the foresight to preserve a great variety of memorabilia, and to foster an interest in local history with the formation of the Nairn Literary Institute. The institute is still thriving, and has had much influence on the museum collection.
The amalgamation of the two museums has resulted in an amazing collection ranging from boomerangs and battle weapons to primeval fossils and prehistoric tools.
The "Fishertown" room has compasses, model boats, sea boots, paintings, and information on all the early boats and the local steam drifters and their crews. On display on the the first floor are agricultural, household and trade implements, school and wartime memorabilia, and comprehensive histories of the Burgh of Nairn and its rural parishes. Every room has files and reference books with further information.
Above all, there is a fascinating collection of local maps, photographs and reminiscences which evoke memories of the way of life for many of the local families who have lived in the area for generations. The museum has already scanned over 2,500 photographs onto its computer to build a large local history archive.
This work continues on a weekly basis and is one of the jobs carried out "behind the scenes" by several of the dedicated volunteers.
The library room has a fine collection of reference books donated by the Nairn Literary Institute, and the books are available for limited supervised local history research by appointment with the manager. The museum also has a very well equipped family history room, with research material on loan from Cawdor Heritage Group. Access to these records is also by prior appointment with the manager. The museum can carry out research work at a reasonable charge.
The sales area has local books, unique cards and bookmarks, locally produced preserves and handicrafts, nautical memorabilia and unusual gifts. All items are for sale as sourced, as much as possible, from Scottish producers. Quiz and colouring sheets are provided for children, along with an area with educational games and toys. Small guide books and free fact sheets, along with guided tours can be arranged, often at short notice.
The museum is staffed Monday Saturday 10am-4.30pm from Easter to the end of October.
It is also open for November weekends and can arrange for visits outwith normal opening times.
There are modest admission charges, and family tickets and group rates are available. Chair lift and disabled access is also available. Visit Nairn Museum soon - and come back again and again to see its changing exhibitions and displays.
A warm welcome awaits you.