History and Culture at Mull Museum

Visitors to Tobermory on the Isle of Mull in the Scottish Inner Hebrides will not want to miss a visit to the Mull Museum. Run by volunteers and dependent on donations for financial support, the museum started out in the 1970s as a temporary exhibition in the summer months before moving to its current home on Main Street in 1986. Since then the museum’s collection of memorabilia related to the Isle of Mull has continued to grow and the museum has become a treasure trove of history, culture, geology and geography relating to the island and its people.

The building itself is a slice of history as it was once the village bakery, and visitors will see the original ovens, with a life-sized replica baker tending them. As the museum is not large enough to accommodate all of its collection, the displays are changed quite regularly and it’s always worthwhile to pop in and see what’s new.

Displays in the museum include information on the geological origins of the island and aspects of its prehistory, such as its duns, brochs and standing stones. There is also some fascinating history of the Viking era and more recent history related to the clans of the castles overlooking the Sound of Mull. Exhibits showcase items related to daily life in the past and the occupations of farming, crofting and fishing. The museum also features information on the Spanish galleon which sank in Tobermory Bay in 1588 sparking longtime rumours of the treasure she held, and maybe still holds. Moreover, hundreds of naval recruits were trained on the Isle of Mull in World War II, a fact which is also documented by the Mull Museum.

Displays at the museum document the fact that the island of Ulva, off the coast of Mull, was the birthplace of Lachlan Macquarie, who went on to become a Major-General in the Scottish-British army and the Governor of New South Wales, Australia. Historians credit him with playing a major role changing the Australian state from its original purpose as a penal colony to a free settlement, thereby influencing the culture and lifestyle of modern Australia. The Mausoleum of Lachlan Macquarie is located near Gruline on the Isle of Mull.

Based on the presence of standing stones at Baliscate, an archaeological dig was initiated by the Mull Museum and carried out in 2012, where evidence of an ancient chapel was found. Visitor to Mull Museum can discover the latest information on these discoveries documented at the museum. Mull Museum is open Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm from Easter through to the end of October.