Nicola Sturgeon had a busy schedule yesterday on her first visit to Lewis in her capacity as First Minister of Scotand. One of her main tasks was to officially open the new £19.5 million Lews Castle Museum and Archive, in Stornoway.
The new Museum nan Eilean building forms part of the massive restoration project involving the iconic Lews Castle, originally built in the middle of the nineteenth century for Sir James Matheson, who had used some of his wealth from the Chinese opium trade to purchase the island of Lewis. The development will also involve a hotel, which will be fully operational in the near future.
These new facilities are expected to prove a massive draw for visitors to the island, not least because of the Museum nan Eilean's partnership with the British Museum, which enables them to have six pieces from the world-famous Lewis Chessmen displayed as a centrepiece in the main gallery. These facinating chess figures were discovered on Uig Beach, on the west coast of Lewis in 1830.