Enrich your experience of the island -explore the museum first! Experience the archaeology,history and natural history of the island with our extensive displays from every period of Bute's past
Bute Museum's collections are mainly concerned with recording and preserving the Island's past and showing examples of the wildlife which might be seen there today.
The very distant past is well represented in the Natural History room's collection of rock samples illustrating Bute's complicated geology caused by its position on the Highland Boundary Fault and the subsequent violent activity associated with it.
First evidence of man is shown in a fine collection of Mesolithic microliths found in the south of the Island. Stone tools and items of pottery left by later Neolithic settlers at various grave and settlement sites are worth studying.
A cist containing some bones and the well preserved skull of a young Bronze Age woman was excavated in 1962 on Inchmanock off the west coast of Bute. Beside her lay the scattered beads of a jet necklace which has recently been restrung and displayed beside a facial reconstruction based on her skull.
Artefacts and metal working implements of Iron Age date were excavated at Dunagoil Fort on the south west coast of Bute and form an important and outstanding collection.
History began with the coming of Christianity which brought Celtic Saints to Bute. The remains of their Chapels, sited all over the Island, has provided the Museum with a source of carved stones from this period.
Excavations at Rothesay Castle moat yielded domestic and military items from the Castle's turbulent past. Viking raiders attacked the Island and its Castle on numerous occasions and the Museum has a rare Viking sword hilt found near Ettrick Bay.
Farming and fishing provided employment for most Islanders but the 19th century saw the rise and decline of a substantial cotton spinning and weaving industry which lasted about 100 years and its extent is explained in the History room.
The coming of the steamboat with fast cheap travel brought a new industry---Tourism. Cases of recent bygones and steamer models are worth a nostalgic look. Bute's part in two World Wars is well documented with photographs and artefacts.
Back to the present day---the Natural History room houses cases of mammals and birds from a wide variety of habitats reflecting today's wild occupants of Bute. Records of the flora and insect life are carefully kept, while a display of wild flowers is on show during the season. Children can enjoy handling various natural objects set out on the Touch Table. The Museum houses a Lecture room and Library with a fine collection of books, documents, photographs and archival material relating to Bute.