Provost Skene's House
Visit Aberdeen’s newest attraction
Provost Skene’s House is open to visitors following a major refurbishment. The new attraction celebrates the pioneering people of Aberdeen and the North-East of Scotland who have not only shaped the city, but have also helped transform the world.
What can I see and do inside?
What makes a city? Its buildings and landscape for certain, but more than anything it is people who give a city its character and culture. Inside Provost Skene’s House, more than 100 remarkable individuals from Aberdeen and the North-East are showcased in new interactive displays. They include innovators, scientists, live savers, writers, sporting champions and stars of stage and screen. Everyone featured was born, has lived or worked in Aberdeen or the North-East. They range from Nobel laureate Lord Boyd-Orr (who helped establish the city’s world-renowned Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health) to operatic soprano Mary Garden (one of entertainment’s first superstars) and football legend Denis Law.
As well as lots of fascinating facts to read in 10 themed displays, there are loads of things to listen to and watch, as well as heaps of hands-on activities for children (and their adults!). And the great thing is that admission is free so you can visit again and again!
The Hall of Heroes
The Hall of Heroes room on the ground floor references 10 individuals featured in displays on the upper floors. These people were selected by public vote prior to the opening of Provost Skene’s House and one person will “leave” the Hall of Heroes and one person will be added every 12-18 months. In Tomorrow’s Heroes, the last room on the top floor, you can vote for the next person to be added to the Hall of Heroes. You can also cast your vote in the Access Gallery on the ground floor.
A brief history of Provost Skene’s House
Dating from 1545, Provost Skene’s House is the oldest surviving townhouse in Aberdeen. It has been added to and altered many times during its life and since 2019, the house has undergone major refurbishment as part of Aberdeen City Council’s 25-year City Centre Masterplan.
The building is named after one of its owners, Sir George Skene (1619-1708), a wealthy merchant and Provost of Aberdeen from 1676 to 1685. The house was used by Hanoverian troops as a billet during the Jacobite rebellion and the Duke of Cumberland stayed here on his way to Culloden. During the 1800s, the Guestrow area of Aberdeen was very run down. The once grand home became Victoria Lodging House, a hostel for the homeless. Provost Skene’s house was threatened with demolition in 1940, but a long-running public campaign saved it and restoration began in 1951. The house began its life as a museum in 1953.
How do I visit?
Provost Skene’s House is open 7-days-a-week. Admission is free and no advance booking is required.
For more answers to questions, you may have, please read our Frequently Asked Questions document.
Getting around the building
Provost Skene’s House dates from 1545. Due to the historic nature of the house we are sorry that the upper floors of the building are not accessible to wheelchair users or visitors with restricted mobility. On the ground floor all visitors can explore the Hall of Heroes. In the small Access Gallery beyond the Hall of Heroes visitors can read a short history of the building and find out about previous occupants of the house. There are large print booklets with copies of the biographies of everyone featured in the nine themed areas on the upper floors. We are working on digital content for a touchscreen display in the Access Gallery which will introduce the displays on the upper floors through a selection of object images, text, some game elements, audio and film. Visitors will also be able to use this touchscreen to cast their vote for the next person to enter the Hall of Heroes. The images for this touchscreen could only be captured once the house was ready to open to the public and we anticipate that the touchscreen will be ready by the end of October. We will be exploring options for making this content more widely available (on our website, for example).
The upper floors are reached by a winding stone staircases which visitors with restricted mobility may find difficult. Please watch out for low ceilings and uneven floors as you make your way round the building. For any enquiries regarding access to the building please contact us using the contact form.
Take home a memento of your visit
Visit the Provost Skene’s House shop before you leave, where you’re sure to find something beautiful (or fun!) to take home with you. Choose from gifts and souvenirs inspired by the themes explored in the house, from Wizard Wordsmiths and Natural Wonders to Scientific Saviours.