Opposite the pier in Fetlar's main settlement of Houbie is the Fetlar Interpretive Centre. This excellent community-run museum and visitor information centre is an essential port of call on any visit to Fetlar. Opening hours are set out on the right. The centre has full disabled access.
Fetlar is an island with a remarkable depth of history. There are signs of occupation going back to Neolithic and Bronze Ages, and until the mid 1800s nearly ten times as many people lived here as do today. You can only gain an understanding of today's Fetlar by understanding something of yesterday's Fetlar. And there's no better way of doing so than visiting the Fetlar Interpretive Centre.
The centre offers a range of displays and resources. It has an extensive collection of photographs of the island going back to the 1860s, as well as a wide range of documents and diaries. A particular focus is on Sir William Watson Cheyne, a close collaborator with Lord Lister on the pioneering development of antiseptic surgery. Cheyne originated on Fetlar, and moved back here on retirement, when he made his home at Leagarth House, which still stands close to the Interpretive Centre.
The centre is also particularly proud of its interactive computer presentations, created in Fetlar, on Fetlar's history, geology , archaeology, folklore and wildlife. They can even show a variety of moving films on video from the 1930s onwards. And for those whose ancestors came from Fetlar, their genealogical database is an important resource.
But its not all history. Fetlar's plants, birds and animals feature large as well, while for fans of Channel 4's Time Team there is information about - and artefacts from - the Time Team visit to Fetlar in August 2002.