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Natural History Gallery

Exhibits from all over the world first occupied the purpose-built first floor gallery in 1862.  The gallery was completely refurbished in 2000 but retains its original Victorian character.

 

Magnus Spence’s herbarium in Stromness Museum

Orcadian Magnus Spence (1853-1919) assembled his herbarium collection in the late Nineteenth and very early Twentieth Centuries. The number of specimens in the herbarium is 918, comprising 556 species of vascular plants, seven algae and five bryophytes. The original total certainly included two further species of vascular plant, each represented by a single specimen.

Click here to view the herbarium list.

Morpho Butterfly
Morpho Butterfly
This irridiscent butterfly is usually found in the tropical forests of Latin America, from Mexico to Colombia. It is one of the largest butterflies in the world with a wingspan of five to eight inches.
Homosteus milleri
Homosteus milleri
This fossil led Hugh Miller, the self-taught Scottish geologist, to write Footprints of the Creator.
Portrait of Dr Hugh Miller
Portrait of Dr Hugh Miller
Portrait of Dr Hugh Miller (1802 - 1862). Born in Cromarty he was a self-taught geologist, theologian, journalist, poet and stone mason.

Miller’s book "Asterolepis of Stromness" became a formative influence on Darwin’s The Origin of Species, and the fossil remains a star exhibit today.
Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle
Golden eagles have wingspans of from 185 to 220 centimeters (6ft 1in to 7ft 3in).
Honey Buzzard
Honey Buzzard
One of about a dozen honey buzzards seen in Orkney in September 2000. This one was found on roof of Orkney College and it died two days later. A honey buzzard's wingspan can be 135-150cm (53-59 inches).
Neuropteris
Neuropteris
A fossil seed fern.
Spiny Lobster
Spiny Lobster
Spiny lobsters are found in warm seas such as the Caribbean and Mediterranean, and in Australasia.
Carcharodon
Carcharodon
Fossilised sharks' teeth.
Plesiosaurus backbone
Plesiosaurus backbone
A Plesiosaurus was a large marine reptile which lived in the Jurassic period.
Brown Trout
Brown Trout
Stenness Loch Brown Trout, 9lbs. Caught in August 1888 by J G Millais, the naturalist, gardener and travel writer.
Dipterus
Dipterus
A fish fossil commonly found in Orkney's sedimentary rock.
Cowrie shells, or 'groattie buckies'
Cowrie shells, or 'groattie buckies'
These shells are found on Orkney beaches and are known as groattie buckies.
Greenland Falcon
Greenland Falcon
A subspecies of the Gyrfalcon and a rare visitor to the British Isles.
Kingfisher
Kingfisher
Kingfishers are usually about 15-17 cm; about the size of a sparrow.
Sea Shell Display
Sea Shell Display
Domed case with display of flowers made from sea shells
Waxwing
Waxwing
The waxwing. A winter visitor from Scandinavia. Smaller than a starling - approximately 18cm - and regular visitors to Orkney.
Puffin
Puffin
Puffin bred in Orkney are usually 26-29cm. This specimen is displayed with an egg between its feet, and has been in the Museum since 1898.
Haematite
Haematite
Haematite is a form of iron oxide and can be found in Hoy.