Next to the ferry terminals, on Junction Road, is a small museum of radio and its use in the war. When I went, it was offering free entry, though they seemed uncertain whether that would continue – some summers, the entry fee provides enough income to cover the insurance on what is low-cost volunteer effort.
The space is crammed with radios and related paraphernalia. Components, posters, even an empty old display unit for batteries. They must have done a roaring trade back in the day.
There’s an obvious route through, past the radio section and into the war one, though you get a quick view of everything from the door – it’s that diddy. Captions are plentiful and I thought the whole thing charming, though the attendant was quick to add that many people found it chaotic. Charming and chaotic, perhaps.
I know next to nothing about radios, am not especially interested and entered in slight trepidation that I might be assumed to be a ham-nut and subjected to more detail than I could cope with. But that was not the tone at all – enter and enjoy it in whatever capacity you can. For me, those old radios, with intricate wooden cases, were a highlight, as was the spy radio from the war (though you’d think I’d have taken a photo of the latter, and I did not).
It’s a lovely museum, a short walk from the centre of Kirkwall and cheap to boot.