Visit Glencoe Folk Museum with its Heather Thatch

Glencoe Folk Museum – Scotland

With the Summer holidays almost upon us we like to mention great places to visit, so long as they incorporate thatch!  Glencoe Folk Museum is a small independent museum which gives a historical flavour of life and work in the Highlands.  It has the added bonus of a rare, heather thatched roof.

It is definitely worth a visit as it has a programme of events throughout the season (April – October). We contacted the curator for more information.

Glenco Folk Museum view from the front

About the Glencoe Folk Museum

“Housed within two 18th Century, traditionally thatched croft cottages, Glencoe Folk Museum tells the rich and exciting history of the local area and its people: from the carving of the Ballachulish Goddess in 600BC to the infamous Massacre of Glencoe in 1692, from Jacobite uprisings to World Wars. The museum holds a fascinating collection of objects including Jacobite relics, costume, paintings, agricultural implements, medical equipment, classic toys, archaeology, photographs, First and Second World War memorabilia and domestic items from around the Glencoe area. The museum is run by a team of friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers.”

Heather Thatch at Glencoe Folk Museum

“When the museum first acquired its current building, the cottages were derelict and were due to be demolished, but when the rusty, corrugated iron roof was removed, the remains of a heather thatch was discovered beneath”.

Glencoe Folk Museum 1971 original heather found beneath the corrugate iron roof

“Traditionally, the roofs of cottages would have had a layer of turf or peat under the heather for insulation and waterproofing.  Every effort has been made to retain the style of the original construction, so when the cottages were restored in 1972, they were rethatched with locally-gathered heather – though the turf has been replaced with a modern equivalent!”

Glencoe Folk Museum 1971 - beneath the corrugated iron heather thatch

“Heather thatch lasts around 15-20 years, so the museum roof has been replaced a number of times, most recently in 2013 with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and Museum Galleries Scotland. When the roof was rethatched in 1991, heather was very scarce and had to be gathered from the other side of Loch Leven and rowed back across to Glencoe! “

Glencoe Folk Museum - heather was scare was sourced across the loch

Glencoe Folk Museum; the Future

“The museum is about to embark on an exciting 2-year redevelopment which will ensure long-term sustainability, and will include the installation of high-quality facilities, the reorganisation of exhibition space and the improvement of the beautiful historic buildings. You can keep up to date with this project on the museum’s social media pages.”

Glencoe Folk Museum Heather thatch in 1971

Visit Glencoe Folk Museum

The Glencoe Folk Museum offers a different experience, housed in a unique thatched building in the Highlands of Scotland.  It is a Scottish Charitable Organisation which makes it even more worth supporting.  We do hope that you will consider visiting the museum, as it is a really special and interesting place.  It is also a good idea to check their social media pages for updates on what events may be going on.

Inside Glencoe Folk Museum 1

Inside Glencoe Folk Museum 2

We wish them well with their redevelopment and hope to keep you all posted on how it goes.

Let us know if you visit or have visited the museum or share with us some pictures.

Glencoe Folk Museum - 1991 Smaller lengths of heather used at the top of the thatch

Useful links to the Glencoe Folk Museum


The Glenco Folk Museum Website




Share this article