Things to see at Lews Castle

Museum & Archive

Lews Castle Museum

Museum nan Eilean

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

Exciting new galleries look at the stories of the 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,  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.

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

Visiting safely

We want you to have a safe and enjoyable visit. During your visit, we ask you to please:

  • Keep your distance from others visitors and staff
  • Clean hands regularly and thoroughly with hand sanitiser or soap
  • Follow the directional signage
  • Continue to wear face masks if you can
  • Do not visit the Museum if you have any Covid symptoms

Lews Castle Archive

Tasglann Nan Eilean

Tasglann nan Eilean is the archive service of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. We are responsible for the historical records of the Comhairle and its predecessors, as well as those of other organisations and individuals connected to the Western Isles which have been gifted or deposited.

Based in a purpose-built facility at Lews Castle, we ensure the archives are preserved for future generations, and can be accessed for research.

We have now reopened the reading room by appointment, offering COVID-safe access. Please visit our Access and Opening Hours webpage for information about how to prepare and what to expect from a 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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