The Skye Museum of Island Life is situated
in the northwest of the Isle of Skye, in the
area of Kilmuir, 21 miles northwest of Portree. Open
Monday - Saturday, Easter - late September,
9.30am - 5pm, last entry 4.30pm. Postcode: IV51
Click on Map for area Attractions
Camping & Touring Parks in
The image top is of Car Park and Entrance to
the Skye Museum of Island Life. The Kilmuir
Graveyard for the Grave of Flora MacDonald is a
short walk uphill from the Museum.
The second image is of the Shop in the
The other images show a number of Thatched
Stone Buildings that were common on Skye and
other Islands for hundreds of years.
The Buildings show a typical Highland
Village, including Homes, Shop, Iron Mongers,
Weavers, and more.
The Building at the bottom end of the
complex is used as a Museum, giving information
on Crofting on the Islands, Jacobite Risings,
and Flora MacDonald, the woman that helped
Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after the Jacobite
defeat by Government Troops at the Battle of
Culloden in 1746.
A short walk uphill from the Museum is the
Graveyard, Burial Place of Flora MacDonald,
also some old Flat Grave Slabs of Knights.
Museum of Island Life History
800s - Vikings were in control of Skye and
other North Western Isles.
1100s - the Vikings were forced out of the
Western Isles by Scottish Kings using Clans
such as MacDonald and MacLeod to keep control
of the area for the Kings.
1400s - Clan MacDonald took control of the
northwest area of Skye with their Duntulm
Castle being built 2 miles north of the
Clan MacDonald and Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan
Castle, 38 miles southwest, fought for
hundreds of years over Land. The two Clans
ended their feuds in the early 1600s after
pressure from the King.
The Chiefs of each Clan owned vast areas of
land with their Castles used to control the
area. Crofters would pay rent to the Chief, and
most of the men would fight for the Chief when
required. This allowed Highland Clans to raise
large Armies at short notice.
1500s - England and Scotland began adopting
Protestantism as they claimed the Catholic
religion based on the Pope in Rome needed
1689 - the first of a series of Jacobite
Risings began after the Catholic King James
II was overthrown by his Protestant daughter
Mary and her husband William of Orange.
Many Highland Clans fought for the Catholic
Stuart's to be restored to the throne, and many
fought on the side of the Government. Some
would change sides, depending on which side
looked like they would win.
To fight on a loosing side at that time,
could lead to you losing your Castle and
1722 - Flora MacDonald was born on South
Uist west of Skye.
1728 - the father of Flora died, leading to
her mother marrying Hugh MacDonald of Armadale
Estate on the southeast of Skye.
1746 - the Jacobite's led by Bonnie Prince
Charlie lost for the final time at the Battle
of Culloden. Flora MacDonald
then helped Bonnie Prince Charlie flee to Skye,
then from there make his way to safety in
France. This Romantic Event led to Skye
becoming the most famous of all the Scottish
Clan MacDonald and Clan MacLeod of Skye
supported the Government at the time of
Culloden, but remained in Skye, so never fought
at the Battle. Many other Clan MacDonald and
MacLeod, from other areas, fought for the
Jacobite's at Culloden.
The aftermath of the Battle of Culloden led
to Crofters being refused the right to wear
Tartan and own Weapons.
The Highland Clearances began soon after
with Crofters being forced off their land to
make way for large scale Sheep Farming, also,
to reduce the population so Risings would be
Many Crofters moved to Cities or emigrated
to North America and Canada.
1750 - Flora MacDonald married Allan
MacDonald, a Captain in the British Army.
1774 - Flora and Alan emigrated to North
Carolina in America.
1776 - the American War of Independence
broke as Americans fought to put an end to
British rule in America. Alan MacDonald fought
for the British. He was captured then sent to
Canada with Flora.
1779 - Flora traveled back to Skye.
1783 - the American Revolution ended with
Britain loosing control. This led to Britain
using Australia as a place to offload people
they believed were trouble makers. Many
Crofters would then be deported to Australia
after being accused of Petty Crimes, and the
best known reason, Sheep Steeling.
1855 - Major William Fraser bought Kilmuir
Estate from the MacDonald's. Fraser gained a
name for being involved in the Highland
Clearances, forcing Crofters off their land to
make way for large scale Sheep Farming.
1790 - Flora MacDonald died on the Isle of
Skye, with her burial at Kilmuir Cemetery next
to the Skye Museum for Island Life.
1965 - the Skye Museum of Island Life was
created by using a Croft that had been on the
site since the early 1800s. That Croft had been
lived in up to 1957. More buildings have been
added over the years to show all the Trades
that were part of Croft Life in the 1800s.