Describe Online

how People Adapt to a Changing World, but the World Keeps on Changing

The Last Pearl Fishers in Scotland – in the 1990s, the last Scottish pearl-fisher retired, ending an ancient way of life but helping pearl mussels to survive.

Ceremonial Turtle Posts – these carved posts are all that survive of a ceremony which was celebrated in the Torres Strait, off the northern coast of Australia.

Survival – People and their land – how tribal peoples throughout the world have had to battle for the survival of their cultural identities.

Bronzes from Benin – how these ancient and modern bronzes continue to have powerful religious and social meanings today.

St Kilda – On the Edge of the World –people survived for centuries on this remote island, but left in 1930. Now St Kilda is celebrated for its wildlife and history.

To Reach

From the First Floor Entrances

Unless you need step-free access, the easiest way to reach this gallery is via the Northwest Stairs from the North Foyer. Turn right at the top of these stairs, then right again into the first entrance, though, if you want to visit the exhibits in the order in which they're described above, we suggest you enter via the second (west) entrance.

From the Main Entrance

Whilst you could make your way via the Lower West Stairs, (or the outside stairs to the North Entrance) to Ground Floor Level, then via the Northwest Stairs to First Floor Level, you may as well use the lift.

Via the Lift

From the Main entrance, continue past Reception, turn right and continue to the wall at the west end of the central space, then move left to locate the West Lift.

Go to First Floor Level, turn left (north) and continue to the top of the Northwest Stairs, in front of you. Turn left then right, into the first entrance, though, if you want to visit the exhibits in the order in which they're described above, we suggest you enter via the second (west) entrance.


This is a large, rectangular space with the exhibits arranged from west to east, in the order described. There are areas of raised floor delimiting special features.

West Side

  entrance from History Discovery Centre

North Side

  blank wall
glass case to right showing pearl fishing
jutting out' Torres Straits Turtle Posts
raised floor south of this, giving impression of sand
to right (south) glass case with Papuan artefacts
floor returns to original level
large display of Maasai artefacts
Symbols of life, African
various paintings, Australian aborigines
jutting south, Native American, raised area
east audio-visual, the Art of the Gods
Bronzes from Benin
south side of raised area, Benin Today
floor returns to original level
wall continues with walkway behind glass cases, move south

The St Kilda Area

North Side

  Myth and Memory, St Kilda

East Side

  pictures of St. Kilda life
audio-visual of St. Kilda life

South Side

  artefacts of St Kilda

South Side of Gallery, Going West

  east entrance
blank wall
display, Conflict, people defending ancestral lands
various weapons
painting, Australian aborigines
blank wall
west entrance

The raised floor north of the west entrance, The Last Pearl Fishers in Scotland

The last one retired in 1998.

West Side

  glass case, outdoor clothing
  glass case, fishing gear, how pearls were used

Northeast Corner

  glass case, the last pearl fisher

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