The Bute Museum and Natural History Society
Registered charity no SC047445

Understanding the archaeology, history, flora, fauna and geology of Bute – and beyond.

Despite its name, since its inauguration in 1905, the Society’s objectives, activities and publications have included archaeology and history as well as the usual natural history topics.  Why it has the name it does is lost in history, but there has never been a strong wish to change the name. We know what we do!


The Society organises fortnightly meetings during the winter, most of which feature an invited speaker giving a talk on a subject related to the Society’s interests. A variety of outdoor meetings are organised during the summer months.  These usually include meetings focusing on geology, on wild flower identification, on historic rural settlements and a general natural history meeting with visitors from one of the mainland natural history societies. The Society produces Newsletters each spring and autumn.

The very active Bute Bird group also holds winter indoor meetings and monthly excursions on Bute and elsewhere throughout the year. The Society publishes a wide variety of books and booklets about Bute, the most recent being the magnificent Birds of Bute. The Society’s members provide a substantial amount of volunteer assistance for running Bute Museum.


The Society’s membership year is October to the following September (each season of winter indoor meetings starts in October).  Membership fee is £20 per annum. A membership application form can be downloaded here.

History of the Society and links with Bute Museum

The Buteshire Natural History Society was founded in 1905 in the context of the demise of the Archaeological and Physical Society of Bute. The Society’s name is something of a misnomer. From the adoption of the first constitution on 12th December 1905, the objects of the Society explicitly included the study of Archaeology as well as Natural History.  It may well be that the long and healthy life of the Society within an island community is in part a consequence of the broad spectrum of interests represented among both its members and its activities. The 1905 Constitution was also explicit that the new Society was to take over and enlarge the collections in a Museum that had been formed by the Archaeological and Physical Society of Bute.  The Museum moved into its present location in 1927, the building having been purpose-built by the 4th Marquess of Bute.

In 1992 the Society transferred the contents and management of the Museum to a new legal entity, the Bute Museum Trustees. This was so that the Museum met requirements for it to be eligible to exhibit various objects of national importance.  The links between the Society and the Museum remain strong. The Society provides volunteers to help run the Museum, the Museum accommodates the Society’s meetings, and all Trustees of Bute Museum are members of the Society.