Situated in the High Street in the heart of the historic town of Fort William in the Scottish Highlands, The West Highland Museum’s collections tell the story of the region and its history.
Our most renowned and unusual collection relates to Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite cause. But we also hold a wealth of curious and fascinating collections relating to less well-known aspects of the lives of the people of the West Highlands, from the effects of political warfare, to the economic impact of tourism in the region, and the coming of the industrial and modern age.
Why not explore a selection of items from our collections, learn about the museum and its history, become a member, or sign-up to hear first about our news and upcoming events.
The West Highland Museum is one of the oldest museums in the Highlands. It was founded in 1922 by a group of local enthusiasts led by Victor Hodgson, who had neither a collection nor a building to display it in.
Victor Tylston Hodgson was born in 1875 at Welcombe Harpenden, Herts., the son of Henry Tylston, a director and for a time Vice Chairman of the Midland Railway.
He was educated at Harrow and in 1894 entered the office of Charles Trubshaw of Derby, the architect for the Midland Railway’s hotels. He transferred to Alfred Waterhouse and Son to serve his apprenticeship from 1895-98, remaining as assistant 1898-1900, during which period he attended the Architectural Association. Thereafter he was assistant in the more ‘arts-and-crafts’ office of Dawber and Whitwell, 1900-1901, before commencing practice in London in 1902 in partnership with Percy Benjamin French Freeman and Francis Charles Eden. Freeman subsequently withdrew to form a partnership with Gilbert Francis Molyneux Ogilvy as Freeman and Ogilvy.
Victor Hodgson devoted many years to a detailed study of the history and archaeology of the Western Highlands, and in 1922 founded the West Highland Museum at Fort William of which he was secretary. It collected croft house furniture and other artefacts.
In 1925, after several temporary exhibitions and the acquisition of significant collections, the Museum launched a fundraising appeal and, in 1926 purchased the present building, a former branch of the British Linen Bank. Descendants of Victor Hodgson are still involved with the Museum today.
The Museum exists solely to collect, conserve and present items of significance and historical and cultural interest related to the West Highland area.
The collections span a wide range of subjects, from archaeology to modern industry, with a special emphasis on the Jacobite risings of the 18th century.
On display we have objects from the Alexander Carmichael collection, the Goldman coin collection, and the Dr Charles Hepburn bequest.
We are an independent charity, financed almost entirely by donations and in recent years we have become an Accredited Museum.
With effect from 1st April 2018 we became governed by the West Highland Museum Trust, a company limited by guarantee, company number SC 581556 and Scottish Charity number SC 047954.