Orcadians, and Stromnessians in particular, have always been connected to the sea. The town’s motto, per mare, ‘by the sea’, is a nod to not only its geographical location, but to the life blood that has sustained the town for generations.
The museum covers all aspects of this rich maritime past, from the local to the global. The museum’s collections of ship models and paintings of ships, and vernacular handicrafts such as ships-in-bottles, reflect the connections that so many Orcadian families had with the sea.
Global events and naval history are referenced in the museum’s unique collection of artefacts and material relating to HMS Hampshire, HMS Vanguard, HMS Royal Oak and the German High Seas fleet, reflecting the strategic importance of Stromness and Orkney in both World Wars. Further highlights include artefacts relating to deep sea sailors, shipbuilding, sail making, fishing, the herring fishing industry, the Orkney yole, lifeboats, light houses, ship wrecks, Arctic whaling, sail traders, and passenger ferries.