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Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre

Door open days

22 September 2018 (10:00-17:00)

23 September 2018 (10:00-17:00)


Housed in converted farm buildings on the island of Burray, the Centre has an intriguing collection of fossils from Orkney and around the world, including some rare and beautifully preserved specimens.

There are also local heritage displays, including a fascinating exhibition about the construction of the Churchill Barriers.

The collections were donated to the people of Orkney by local builder Leslie Firth who, with his father Ernest, developed an interest after finding fossils at their quarry in Sandwick, West Mainland. The exhibitions downstairs showcase the extensive fossil and rock collection, with detailed information and illustrations of 380 million year old fish!

Ernest Firth was also a collector of heritage objects. His interest was in the objects used in everyday life by Orcadians. His extensive hoard includes furniture, household china, cameras and tools, providing an intimate portrait of life in Orkney in the last century.

The heritage galleries were upgraded over the winter of 2015-16, with new information about boat building in Burray and exhibits about life in Orkney during the First and Second World Wars, including a feature about the other 'Italian Chapel' built at POW Camp 34 on Burray.

The temporary exhibition area features photographs of wartime Orkney which were recently donated to the Centre. 


Disabled Access

The Centre has a level access through the Community Cafe, and there is an outside toilet accessible via a ramp as well as inside toilets with steps.

The downstairs galleries displaying fossils, rocks and the Building the Barriers exhibition are all readily accessible for wheelchairs and buggies. There is one audio visual display and a dark room showing fluorescing rocks using UV light, which is down a couple of steps.

The upstairs heritage galleries are accessed via a staircase. There are some outdoor workshops containing tools and household objects, which are accessed via a narrow uneven path and have low door lintels. 

For more information about the Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre, visit their website here.

Key Information

Building Date: Unknown, but was converted from farm outbuildings in 1993

Visitors will have the opportunity to see the geology, fossil and heritage displays for free during Doors Open Days. 

Where to find us

  • Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre
  • Viewforth
  • Burray, Orkney,
  • KW17 2SY