A series of images of life in Eriskay in the 1930s have been brought back into focus, thanks to work by a University of Aberdeen researcher.

Now curators at the museum which holds the collection are asking if anyone from the islands can add even more information to the photo records.

The images were taken by German photographer Dr Werner Kissling, who came to the islands in the 1930s, and preserved in a suitcase of his most treasured possessions which was recently donated to Dumfries Museum.

Research student Kirsty Kernohan took on the task of finding out more about the suitcase contents, which included items brought with Dr Kissling from Germany when he left before the Second World War.

In the suitcase were photos showing life in Eriskay, documenting the traditional ways of life, and an article he wrote in 1944 for the anthropological journal Man, in which he described Hebridean blackhouse living.
Dr Kissling believed that the traditional design of the blackhouse was well-suited to the Western Isles and should be retained rather than replaced with other types of housing.

Most remarkable in Kirsty Kernohan’s research is the discovery of islanders’ names and proper identities, carefully recorded by Dr Kissling. Pictures of women working with wool and tweed shows Mary Johnstone and Mary MacIsaac (top left), Mary MacInnes (Bean Sheonnaidh ‘ic Dhonnaicheadh) carding wool and Bean Iagain Mhoir spinning and at the loom and (bottom right) a group of people waulking the tweed including Mary MacInnes, Bean Iagain Mhoir and Peigi Aonghais.

Curator Joanne Turner of Dumfries Museum told welovestornoway.com: “The project which brought Kirsty to work with us on cataloguing some of Dr Kissling’s collection, Interface, is a hub which connects organisations to Scottish universities and researchers.

“Dumfries Museumis still interested in adding any further information that people may have about any of the photos.”

You can see some of the images at the website of The Future Museum (http://www.futuremuseum.co.uk/collections/people/key-people/collectors-explorers/dr-werner-kissling.aspx) and Dumfries Museum can be contacted via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The pictures show women working with wool, Eriskay children in a rowing boat and the front page of a paper by Dr Werner Kissling and are used by courtesy of Dumfries Museum.