A look inside the reopened Kilmartin Museum

kilmartin museum

Kilmartin Museum re-opens the doors to over 12,000 years of history

Kilmartin Museum reopened to the public on Sunday 3rd September and here is what you can expect to find.

kilmartin museum

The small village of Kilmartin in Argyll and Bute was once the centre of ancient rituals which once again will come to life with the reopening of the village museum after its redevelopment.

@foodieexplorers A look at the newly reopened Kilmartin Museum. #scotland #history #tiktoktravel #travel #scottishhistory #museum ♬ Ghibli-style nostalgic waltz(806744) – MaSssuguMusic

A long history

We visited the nearby Nether Largie Standing Stones and Temple Wood with Dr Aaron Watson,  who is the Interpretation and Engagement Manager.  Here you will see over 3000 years of history at one of the UK’s best pre-historic bronze age sites.   Over 800 historic monuments, cairns, standing stones, stone circles and rock art dating back over 5000 years have been recorded within the Kilmartin Glen area.

kilmartin museum Nether Largie Standing Stones
Nether Largie Standing Stones
kilmartin museum Temple Wood
Temple Wood

The Museum was founded in 1997 by Rachel Butter and David Clough and since then the collection has grown as well as the need to upgrade the museum exhibition to modern demands.

The redevelopment

After a long period of project work, redevelopment started in 2021 and has created a venue that embraces the work of the museum.  There is now a larger exhibition space where you can try your hand at yarn spinning and grinding grain. Temporary exhibition space enables a rotation of events; one of these is from locally based artist Lizzie Rose and her new exhibition Carbon Legacy. Reflecting the need for our collective action against the climate crisis, Carbon Legacy is an installation that includes nearly 400 oak tree seedlings which will later be planted in a collaborative action, creating a living monument in Kilmartin Glen.

kilmartin museum

Alongside this research labs will facilitate the study of the collections plus a dedicated education space.

What to expect inside Kilmartin Museum

Working your way through the exhibition space you will learn about the Kilmartin Glen area, the people and the landscape.

kilmartin museum

Some of the collection highlights include:

The remains of a Bronze Age woman found in Kilmartin Glen, displayed alongside a reconstruction of her face;

Mesolithic flint core, 12,000 years old, one of few artefacts representing some of the first evidence of human presence in Kilmartin Glen;

Three Beaker pots, from a grave of a person who originated on the continent.

The Museum also showcases over 60 loans from National Museums Scotland including:

The Poltalloch jet necklace – a piece of internationally important Bronze Age jewellery from Kilmartin Glen and the Glebe Cairn vessel, displayed with a view towards the Bronze Age cairn it was found in.

kilmartin museumPoltalloch jet necklace
Poltalloch jet necklace

Nearby sights

Within reach of the Museum are several sites offering an insight into prehistoric times. , including:

Kilmichael Glassary Rock Art: 5,000-year-old rock art featuring motifs such as cup and ring marks.

‘Linear cemetery’: a 2km long line of five cairns, dating about 5,000 t0 3,500 years ago. It includes –

Nether Largie Mid Cairn.  The carvings suggest this was the burial place of a high-status individual since axes are thought to be indicators of wealth.
Nether Largie North, Nether Largie South Cairn and Glebe Cairn. The Glebe Cairn is thought to contain at its centre two concentric rings of boulders, with a burial cist placed in the centre.
Ri Cruin, the southernmost point of the prehistoric ‘linear cemetery’ which was extensively damaged in the 1700s and 1800s.

Temple Wood Stone Circle: a complex ritual and funerary site that was in use for more than 2,000 years.  It features 13 standing stones, one of them marked with a spiral which is a motif closely paralleled in Irish passage-grave art.

The Glen is also home to one of Scotland’s most important early medieval sites – Dunadd Fort.  It was home to a fort 2,000 years ago, and a royal power centre of Gaelic kings in the 500s to 800s AD.

dunadd fort kilmartin

dunadd fort kilmartin

dunadd fort kilmartin
View from Dunadd Fort

Where to find Kilmartin Musem


Kilmartin Museum, Kilmartin, Lochgilphead, Argyll, PA31 8RQ

The museum is 4 miles north of Lochgilphead and 30 miles south of Oban.

Sustrans cycle route 78 passes close to the museum and there are bike racks available.

Opening Hours for Kilmartin Museum

It’s open 10am to 5pm, seven days a week until the end of October.

Winter hours from 1 November to 23 December are Thursday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm.

How to book tickets for Kilmartin Museum

You can book in advance, or buy a ticket on arrival. Click here to book online.

Adult tickets are £9.50, concessions £8.50 and children £5 (under 5s are free)

Or you can buy an annual pass which is £28.50 for an adult, £25.50 for concessions and £15 for children

Is there car parking at Kilmartin Museum?

There is room for 38 cars in the Museum’s car park.

Is there a cafe at Kilmartin Museum?

Not yet but a café will open in the spring of 2024.

Talks and Events

The current schedule of talks and events are listed on the Kilmartin Museum website.

Is Kilmartin Museum accessible for the disabled?

The museum is fully accessible to those with mobility difficulties. Three accessible parking bays are located very near the entrance, on the level.   There are accessible toilets, lift access, and a baby change room.

Self-Guided Trail of Kilmartin Glen

Click here to download a self-guided trail of Kilmartin Glen. 

 

Emma

Emma

Hello!

I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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