Museum of Scottish Lighthouses

In 1786 the Northern Lighthouse Board was established and in 1787 the board built its first lighthouse, which is today the only lighthouse that was constructed on a fortified castle. Its location was Kinnaird Head and it is now a part of the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. Kinnaird Head lighthouse was reconstructed inside the walls of the Kinnaird Castle in 1824 and played a significant role in the history of maritime and lighthouses in Scotland. So, when the lighthouse was eventually decommissioned in 1991, the decision was made to preserve it, and together, the Scotland’s Lighthouse Museum Trust and Historic Scotland, created the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, which is one of the most visited attractions in Scotland.

When walking into the original lighthouse and engine room, one almost expects the lighthouse keeper to come through the door at any moment, as it has been preserved in exactly the way the last lighthouse keeper left it. And it is this kind of authenticity that draws visitors to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and its diverse displays that map out the history of lighthouses of the country.

Some of the most important years are highlighted by the museum, such as the construction of the Isle of May Lighthouse in 1635, the establishment of the Northern Lighthouse Trust in 1786, the invention of the dioptric lens by August Fresnel in 1822, the use of electric illumination in 1853, the design of the first radio beacon in 1929 and the automation of the last lighthouse in 1998. The museum exhibits photographs, biographies, lenses, documents, equipment, audio visual displays and interactive exhibits to bring the story of lighthouses and the people who developed them to life. Artifacts that have been donated to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses are also on display and the technology used in lighthouses at present is explained.

Throughout the year, the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses also hosts special events such as art exhibitions, workshops, cinema days and festivals, which are enthusiastically supported by the local community. The facilities are also accessible to visitors with disabilities, and refreshments and meals can be enjoyed at the museum café. Guests to the museum will be astounded and fascinated by the vast range of exhibits and educational material on display. The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses is amongst the many unique attractions that Scotland has to offer.