Highland Folk Museum - Knockbain School

Highland Folk Museum - Knockbain School

Highland Folk Museum Summer House

Summer House - Highland Folk Museum


The Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore brings to life the domestic and working conditions of earlier Highland peoples, in a friendly and welcoming environment. Families visiting this living history museum can learn how our Scottish Highland ancestors lived, how they built their homes, how they tilled the soil and how they dressed. An award winning visitor attraction, the museum not only encapsulates human endeavour and development in Highland life from the 1700s to the present day, but offers an opportunity for the whole family to explore a beautiful natural setting, home to red squirrels and tree creepers.


An outstanding feature of the Highland Folk Museum is its recreation of part of the Highland ‘township’ of Easter Raitts for which the original site is located well up the Spey Valley side to the north of Lynchat, near Kingussie. "Aultlarie" farm steading (including the farmhouse) is the largest in situ building on the museum's site and dates from the early 1800’s. Interpreted for the 1930’s, it is traditional in form for a local small farm, with the steading comprising of a three horse stable, cattle byres, a barn and a dairy. A new attraction is trying your hand at milking their fiberglass cow. Spread out over nearly a mile, the museum contains a variety of community and workplace buildings including The Railway Halt, Glenlivet Post Office, Shepherd's Bothy and Fank, 1950s Summer House, Knockbain School, Leanach Church, Macpherson Tailor's Shop, Kirk’s Store (an old fashioned sweet shop!), Clockmakers and Joiners workshops and the Highland Cottage


The collections at the Highland Folk Museum mainly reflect the social and rural way of life of the Scottish Highlands from the 1700s up to the mid 1900s. The majority of the more than 10,000 items were collected by Dr Isobel F Grant, the Museum Founder, in the early 1900s with subsequent acquisitions to the collection under the ownership of the Scottish Universities (1954-1974) and the Highland Council (1974 to present day). Agricultural Collection. This is one of the strongest elements in the collections, especially with regard to subsistence farming and small-scale agriculture. In all, it amounts to several thousand items. Recent acquisitions concentrate on the introduction of mechanized farming, with examples of horse-powered machinery and implements being collected.


Domestic Collection. This is the most important collection, of international importance and numbering some two thousand objects. The collections range from cooking material through heating, lighting and laundry to a major holding of traditional house fittings and furniture. Crafts, Trades and Industries. Most of the traditional crafts such as mason, joiner, shoemaker, wheelwright and smith are covered in this collection. There are also smaller collections relating to shops and markets. It encompasses traditional industries such as textiles, forestry and fishing. Buildings. joiner'sThe Museum is actively collecting buildings representative of different aspects of Highland vernacular architecture. These are mainly ones in danger of being lost through demolition. As artefacts in their own right they include a smoke house, school, church, clockmaker’s workshop, croft house, post office, railway halt and joiner’s shop.


Applied Arts. The Museum has a small but nationally significant collection of material made by cairds, or travelling people, including silver, jewellery and horn work. The ceramic collection was largely collected in terms of use in domestic contexts. The exception is that the Barvas ware in the collection is of national importance. Barvas ware is a type of pottery produced, specifically, by the women of Barvas, in the Outer Hebrides. Generations of women, though few in number, produced low-fired ceramic vessels known as craggans (or crogans). From the middle of the nineteenth century with the development of travel and tourism some potters began to cater for a new market and made tea sets which sold as ‘curios’ to outsiders interested in island life. The production continued into the twentieth century, but with few potters and an industry dependent on a particular type of collector, making ceased by the 1930s.Textiles and Costume. The Museum has a very significant collection of Highland flat textiles including tartan pieces and traditional hand woven blankets. It has some important examples of locally produced linen. The costume collection includes much fashionable female costume from the early 19th century to the Edwardian period including fine examples of the use of tartan in the 19th century Highland society.


Sports and Pastimes. In the area of sport, the strongest collection is that of curling stones. The Museum is also a repository for shinty artefacts and memorabilia. Shinty is a team game played with sticks and a ball. Shinty is now played mainly in the Scottish Highlands, and amongst Highland migrants to the big cities of Scotland, but it was formerly more widespread in Scotland, and was even played for a considerable time in England and other areas in the world where Scottish Highlanders migrated. While comparisons are often made with field hockey, the two games have several important differences. In shinty, a player is allowed to play the ball in the air and is allowed to use both sides of the stick, called a caman, which is wooden and slanted on both sides. The stick may also be used to block and to tackle, although a player may not come down on an opponent's stick, a practice called hacking. Players may also tackle using the body as long as it is shoulder-to-shoulder. The game was derived from the same root as the Irish game of hurling and the Welsh game of bando, but has developed unique rules and features. These rules are governed by the Camanachd Association. A composite rules shinty–hurling game has been developed, which allows Scotland and Ireland to play annual international matches. Another sport with common ancestry is bandy, which is played on ice. There is a small collection of golf clubs and other late 19th century artefacts relating to the game in the Highlands. The museum has a collection of material relating to game shooting including some important sporting guns. Archives and Photographs. Much of the archive material relates to the history of the Museum, including the private papers of the founder, I F Grant. There is a small collection of trade journals, tradesmen’s daybooks and papers belonging to local societies. The Museum has a small collection of photographs as well as postcards relating to the early 20th century Highlands.


Multi-Sensory Experiences. Smell the peat, listen to the fire burning, touch the buildings, meet the animals, talk to the team. Their guidebook is available to borrow from reception in large print format. If you would like a copy to be sent to you or available for you to take home when you visit please contact them in advance so they can arrange this for you. The café has a range of hot and cold foods and drinks. From freshly made soup and sandwiches, to delicious cakes and sweet treats. Along with kids meals, vegetarian and gluten free options their café has something for everyone. The café has seating for 40, disabled access via a ramp and a large outdoor picnic area with a kids play area alongside. Menu – The café menu is available in large print in the café. Free parking is available at the Museum for all visitors. They have a large car park with bays for coaches and marked spaces for less able visitors beside the reception entrance. They have an onsite tractor and trailer that offers visitors transport around the site. The trailer has stepped and ramped access for those with mobility issues. Wheelchairs can then be folded and transported with the visitors or visitors can remain in their wheelchair as there are secure fixings in floor of the trailer. (Only one wheelchair can be fixed per journey). Whilst they do not have any mobility scooters or wheelchairs available for visitors to borrow you are welcome to bring your own to the museum. The terrain varies in terms of floor surface and gradient across the site so please make sure that any wheelchairs or scooters are robust enough. Toilet and baby changing facilities can be found at their main reception area and are also available at Croft and Township. There are disabled toilet facilities. Assistance dogs are very welcome across the museum. There is a water bowl outside the shop and a tap available in a dog crèche area for visitors to use. (The dog crèche is available for non – assistance dogs visiting the museum). Please speak to a member of their team for advice on dog walks nearby.


Location : Highland Folk Museum, Kingussie Road, Newtonmore PH20 1AY

Transport: Newtonmore (National Rail) then 1 mile or taxi. Bus Routes : 32, 35, 39A and M91 stop in Newtonmore (0.5 miles).

Opening Times : 24th March through August, Daily 10:30 to 17:30;  September + October, Daily 11:00 to 16:30

Tickets : Free

Tel. : 01540 673551