This Metasaga has been created by the members of the Shetland Schools Service Inservice training course. It being the end of October with snowy showers we decided to go for an indoor venue. A crisp October day resulted in outdoor and indoor stops.Thank you to the staff of the museum for their cooperation.


The View

Even on an October day the view from the museum across Hay's dock can be spectacular, full of light , colours and reflections. A traditional Shetland scene, two old fishing boats tied at the pier, safe , secure and at rest alongside working boats. Their Lerwick registrations a mark of belonging, identity.

"The girl who taught the fisherman to read
made him long to know these letters painted white
on boats tethered at the quayside - LK, SY, PD ..."

from "The girl who taught the fisherman to read " by Donald S Murray

Where do you feel safe and at rest?
What identifies you?
How do traditions impact on your own life?
How do you see things differently from others?

Capture a wonderful view, in a picture, a painting , a poem be creative

A neighbouring boat
DSCF0065.JPGThe museum preserves the past, protects it. Their boat sheds are full of living projects restoring boats. On closer inspection of their neighbours in the dock you find decay and a slow death for some of the craft. Away from the museum beside those distant boats you find that the idyllic distant scene is not all that it seems.

When has something or someone not been what they seem?
What have you allowed to decay?
What are you hiding under layers?

PLEASE NOTE- The boat in this picture does not belong to the museum.


Find beauty in something old and take a picture of it

Nat, one of our guides found beauty in an old anchor. You will find more of Nat's work by clicking the picture

DSCF0013.JPGThe Donation Barrel
Inside the door of the museum is an old herring barrel complete with the crown brand. Ironic that it should be used for charity when most would see it representing taking rather than giving. The crown , the estate who took from the people of Shetland. The crown brand only given to those barrels that made the grade,taking control. Yet it also represents a way of life, the herring fishery.A hard life for men and women. Something that links coastal towns from the Minch to Shetland, from Grimsby to Peterhead.One small barrel one huge story.

How are you charitable?
How do you give?
What mark do you bear?
What has been your most difficult work?
What would you like to preserve?
What has been taken from you?
Who do you know that sounds like an empty barrel?

Give something to charity and remember those who live in poverty and oppression.

"Gran used that knife to gut and slit591781350_a6900f05d8.jpg
herring that she packed
in barrels on quays of Lowestoft, Yarmouth , Wick

Salt smarted cuts that work had nicked
deep into skin and soul; the open wounds
in which blade and curer's tongue had slipped

Insult after insult. And so the rise and dip
of steel became a stab she aimed at those
who kept her in her place, bowed above those barrels,

Bent by poverty and gender,
barbs and orders,men spat from lips."

from "The gutting knife" by Donald S. Murray

The old Bressay lighthouse
It is amazing how many times lighthouses feature in Metasagas, these beacons of light still draw the nomads of the sea even when they are on dry land. This the Bressay light which is stripped bare and being repaired at the museum. The reflection in the beacon's mirrors are a distorted view of the museum, turning the whole place upside down.

What light or beacon are you drawn to?
How are you a guiding light to others?
What brings light to your life?
In what way are you a nomad , a wanderer?
When do you feel you have been stripped bare?
Do you have a distorted view on something?
When has your world been turned upside down?

Light a candle and place it in your window tonight

bressay.jpg"Spiralling each day to reach the light,
he knows he must stay faithful
to that intermittent glow
he sends on waters every night,
wiping bird-shit,sea spray,
all that wing or wind may send his way
to darken and obscure
the borderline between wave and shore."

from "Following his vocation" by Donald S. Murray

A Basket Screen


The ancient art of basket weaving can be seen through out the museum in kishies and skeklers hats. But our stop was a dividing screen made of a variety of basket techniques. You can clearly see the warp and weft, knots and threads.The materials are found in our landscape.You can see through the screen but yet it is very strong and is a clear division. Some of us could not resist touching the screen. We glimpsed our guide, a shadowy figure on the otherside. A whispered question made it feel almost confessional.

How do you use things in your environment to be creative?fleece.jpg
What gives you strength and how are you strong?
What is a barrier to you?
What obscures your view?

Tie a knot, or learn to tie knots
One of the guides uses wool to be creative click on the picture for a link

A strange view of a Turtle

We found ourselves below the smooth pearly belly of a huge leather back turtle , an ancient mariner. Usually found in the balmy waters of the Carribean this wiley wanderer found himself in the waters off Mid Yell. Our guide could remember standing as a child on the pier in Mid Yell when he was landed having got caught up in the ropes of a creel boat. Fishermen, seafarers stood in awe of this monster of the deep. Their gasps a lament for the ancient soul. Hidden above us was the gnarled back , the seven rows of spines scarred and defiant. A shield against the dangers of the deep. Where had he been in his long life, what had he seen?

What do you use to protect yourself?
Where would you like to travel too?
When have you been blown off course?
What childhod memory do you have about a creature?

FInd two contrasting textures and rub them with your hands
Watch the turtle scene from Finding Nemo

The Boat Hall


Your task is to listen to the track above of Lise our guide for this stop sing with her family. If you want to know more click here.

We entered the maritme cathedral of the boat hall for our final stop. We looked up to worship the craft , the skill , the boat ,supended in time above us. We feel we are standing on the bottom of the sea.
We wondered at the men who sat tethered in dark houses imprisoned by the weather. How they escaped out into the terrifying wonderful open expanse of the sea in these small fragile hulls. Many of course paid the ultimate price in the Delting and Gloup disasters but they were not deterred and generation after generation of Shetlander has escaped to the sea.

Sit in silence and listen for the song of the sea. Where do you escape to?

Guides - Madge , Sarah , Liz, Caroline , Nat , Donald , Lise & Kate

All of the guides are now working on their own Metasagas and relating these to curriculum for excellence.