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Scottish Fisheries Museum

Scottish Fisheries Museum, Anstruther

The Scottish Fisheries Museum
St Ayles, Harbourhead, Anstruther, Fife
Tel: 01333 310628

The Scottish Fisheries Museum, founded in 1969, is situated in Anstruther overlooking the ancient fishing harbour. It is fittingly situated at the heart of the East Neuk of Fife fishing villages of St. Monans, Pittenweem, Cellardyke and Crail. Local history records that the site on which the Fisheries Museum is built has been associated with fishing for the last 400 years. The museum also houses the Memorial to all those Scottish Fishermen who lost their lives at sea in search of a catch.

The museum is constructed within a group of buildings around three sides of an old courtyard. On the West side, stands an 18th century merchant's dwelling, on the North side, a mid 19th century storehouse and on the East side, a 16th century Abbot's lodging. See a VR view of the Courtyard.

The museum gives an accurate insight into the Scottish fishing industry from 400 years ago through to the present day. In one part of the museum is a reconstructed fisherman's cottage. In the 1800's most fishermen's houses were single storied with earth floors and rough, unplastered walls. A large double bed was recessed in the livingroom and there would be one or two more rooms for the rest of the usually large family. This replica cottage also illustrates the sparse life once endured by the fisherman's family.

At another part of the museum, fine examples of fishing gear used in the past are on display. This includes the gear used by the fishwives for filleting fish and tools used by the men for making and mending the fishing nets. Model boats and fishing equipment

The museum's collections include intricate models of fishing boats and evocative paintings of fishing themes. The sailing boat 'Reaper' that was once used to catch herring and is now conserved by the museum is also on display. Visitors to the museum can join the crew of the 'Reaper' to hear the fascinating story of fishing in the 1800's. The Zulu boat 'Research', a magnificent sailing ship based on an original African design, can be seen at the museum. These two boats are displayed in galleries, specially built for the purpose within one of the old boatyards. Fish Gutting

Life-size models of craftsmen working in the boatyard or demonstrating how the fish were caught are on view in the museum. There is also an extensive reference library and photographic archive, which is open to the public by appointment.

The Museum is lovingly managed and cared for by Andrew Fox and his dedicated team. It was after ten years as curator of the Fife Fisheries Museum, that Andrew became manager. Throughout these years he has seen the interest and number of visitor attendance's increase. The clear vision of the Museum's place in the history of Scottish fishing, the quality of Museum collection items and the all-round presentation of the Museum has attracted the attention of the award giving bodies and as a result many awards have been conferred on the Museum. Fishmonger

By extending the provision of visitor attractions to include art and photographic exhibitions, musical, poetry and drama concerts, the Museum has been very successful in offering a wider variety of choices to the visitor. Fine examples of some of the exquisite murals and paintings done by local school children that hang in the Museum reinforce a commitment to include all sections of the community in the welfare and continuance of the Museum. This inclusive approach has been instrumental in extending knowledge of the Museum to a much broader audience.

With his extensive knowledge of fisher folk and his enthusiasm for the Museum, a pleasant half-hour spent in Andrew's company will delight and inform you. He has a real penchant for describing the atmosphere of the Museum and will excite you with tales of the three ghosts that are believed to exist in the Museum Gallery. If you are ever in the East Neuk of Fife, you must include in your travels a visit to the Fife Fisheries Museum.

The Scottish Fisheries Museum is open April - October, Weekdays: 10am until 5:30pm, Sundays: 11am until 5pm. November - March, Weekdays: 10am until 4:30pm, Sundays: 2pm until 4:30pm.
There is a small admission charge

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