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The historic heartland of Oban lies less than a mile from the towncentre at Dunollie Castle, which stands on the site of an ancient royal capital of Dalriada. Kings of the Gaelic territories ruled in the 8th century, giving way to Somerled, Lord of the Isles and the Chiefs of the Clan MacDougall in the 12th century. The medieval castle still stands to its full height on top of a steep rock with some of the best seaviews anywhere on the West Coast. Below it is Dunollie House, which is still the official Clan Seat. The early part of the house is now open to the public as The 1745 House, with displays, ever-changing exhibitions, events and activities surrounding the superb museum collections gathered by the Clan and Hope MacDougall, which tell the story of West Highland life from the crofter to the chief. This is an oustanding and much praised new attraction for Oban, within easy walking and cycling distance from the town along the old carriage track, and with on-site parking. It is at an early stage of development and the tearoom is planned but not yet open. There is a small shop. All interpretation is delivered bilingually in English and Gaelic, and the site has disabled access wherever feasible.
The Oban War and Peace Museum was opened in 1995, beginning as a temporary exhibit of photos and memorabilia set up to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. The exhibit was so popular that people began donating their personal items to the display and requested that it stay open past its scheduled dates. In 2002 the museum moved into its permanent home on Oban's North Pier. The museum has been visited by Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal British Legion. Those who want to visit should see their website for hours and prices.
Nearby Kilmartin House museum is well worth a visit with its collection of bronze age items. There are more than 350 ancient monuments within a six-mile radius of the village of Kilmartin, Argyll: 150 of them are prehistoric. This extraordinary concentration and diversity of monuments distinguishes the Kilmartin Glen as an area of outstanding archaeological importance.It is one of Scotland’s richest prehistoric landscapes. Kilmartin House Museum is an award winning world-class centre for archaeology and landscape interpretation established to protect, investigage and interpret this internationally important archaeological landscape and the artefacts that have been found here. At this unique and vibrant centre you can also see ‘The Valley of Ghosts’ audio-visual – a time travelling experience with breath taking imagery and haunting music. There is an on site shop and an award winning cafe.
One for the kids is nearby Inveraray Jail Museum, a live, working attraction created from a real 19th Century prison. At the museum visitors can be tried in court and spend some time in a real jail cell. One can tour the building's old cells to see what they were like as well as visit the prison's airing yards, outdoor iron cages where prisoners were brought for daily exercise. The Jail Museum also features a "Torture, Death and Damnation" exhibit, models of modern jail cells, and a gift shop. See the website for more details.