Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, has warmly welcomed the public opening of Museum nan Eilean at Lews Castle last week.

The £19 million partnership project was led by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and included external funding from the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the European Regional Development Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Alasdair Allan commented: “I’m delighted that Museum nan Eilean and Archive has finally been opened in Lews Castle. As I’m sure visitors will attest, this is an impressive, state of the art facility that will bring many cultural and economic benefits. It will enable us to showcase the islands’ history to tourists but also to a younger generation of islanders, all while making use of a culturally significant building that has lain dormant for far too long.  

“It is very welcome news that six of the Lewis Chessman are destined for a long term home within the museum, some seven years after the then Culture Minister Mike Russell first managed to negotiate for their return on tour. The Chessman are some of the finest pieces of art that have survived from the end of the Viking era. It is only right some pieces will be on display on the island they were first discovered and have always been a symbol for.

“I would like to congratulate everyone who has contributed to this project. Many people in the community have worked for many years on this and it is something everyone will be able to take great pride in.”