Things to see at Lews Castle

Museum & Archive

Museum nan Eilean

Located in a modern purpose-built extension to Lews Castle, the new Museum nan Eilean opened on 14 July 2016.

Exciting museum galleries look at the stories of islands and islanders. Visitors can:

  • discover how the distinctiveness of the Outer Hebrides is shaped by a unique combination of land, sea and people.
  • hear details about different people’s lives; the diversity of experience, opinion and perception of living life on an island.
  • examine how people have lived and worked from the earliest times to the present day, and how their culture is expressed through the Gaelic language, religion and community life.

Significant loans from National Museums Scotland and the British Museum, including the world-famous Lewis Chessmen, alongside unique objects from the Comhairle’s collection set the modern culture of the islands in their historic context. More information is available on the museum website.

The ground floor of Lews Castle has been restored to its Gothic Revival grandeur, and as well as the carefully renovated rooms, visitors can enjoy the Storehouse café and Outfitters shop run by Together Travel.

Museum opening hours

Summer: April - September

Winter: October - March

Tasglann Nan Eilean


Tasglann nan Eilean – the archive service of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar – is based alongside the museum. The archive collects historical records relating to the Outer Hebrides ensuring that important documents are preserved for future generations and can be accessed for research. Please visit the museum website for more information about the collections and arranging a research visit.

For more information contact us at or via our Enquiries and Contacts page, or see our Tasglann Blog (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) for latest news.

Access and opening hours

We are based in a purpose-built archive facility at Lews Castle, Stornoway which opened in 2016.

The archive is open by appointment.

You are strongly advised to contact us well in advance of a visit so that we can identify relevant material beforehand, and to ensure that a space is reserved for you in the Reading Room.

You will be asked to:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before entering the archive reading room
  • Maintain social distancing of 2 metres during your visit
  • Wear a face covering at all times while you are in the building
  • Remain in the seat allocated for your research visit
  • Bring your own pencil and any other equipment you need
  • Complete a registration form if it is your first visit

If you are unable to visit in person, you can email us your enquiry at or get in touch through our Enquiries & Contacts page.

Please note that researchers will be expected to comply with our Reading Room Regulations (35.4kB) (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)when consulting original archive material.

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