The Orkney Museum tells the history of Orkney from the Stone Age to the Picts and Vikings and right up to the Present Day.
There is much to see and browse in the rooms that take you through the various historical eras.
In the museum you can see the Orkney Islands Council Coat of Arms which were granted on March 3, 1975 and is adapted from the previous Orkney County Council Coat of Arms and the Communitas Orcadiae from 1425. This seal showed the Norwegian Royal Arms with two supporters. The gold ship on a blue background symbolises the ancient Earldom of Orkney and the golden crowned lion on the red background is from the Royal Arms of Norway. The man on the left is an “udallerer”. “Udal” was the system of land tenure in Orkney and Shetland, and this represents the whole of the landowning class, and on the right is a unicorn. The Latin inscription of Boreas Domus Mare Amicus means “The North our home, the sea our friend” and was chosen in 1931.
The museum has a fabulous reproduction of a beautiful map of Scandinavia showing the islands of Orkney, which was originally published in 1539. Carta Marina was the first map of the Nordic countries to give details and place names, created by Swedish ecclesiastic Olaus Magnus. On the map you can see the Nordic lands of “Svecia” (Svealand) and “Gothia” (Götaland) (both areas in Sweden), “Norvegia” (Norway), Dania (Denmark), Finlandia (Finland), Islandia (Iceland), Lituania (Lithuania) and Livonia (Estonia and Latvia). The map was created in Rome during 1527–39 by Olaus Magnus (1490–1557). The map was in production for 12 years; the first copies were printed in 1539 in Venice. Have a look for the various sea monsters! An interesting interactive website allows you to explore the various sea monsters that were drawn on this map and which were believed to exist at the time.
Directions: To get to our final stop, as you leave the Orkney Museum, turn right into Victoria Street and walk just over 100 metres to outside the Orkney Hotel.