Majority of Scotland’s museums plan to reopen this year - Museums Association

Majority of Scotland’s museums plan to reopen this year

Survey finds that 75% of museums will have opened their doors by August
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Geraldine Kendall Adams
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The Lewis chess pieces at the National Museum of Scotland, which started welcoming the public back last month
The Lewis chess pieces at the National Museum of Scotland, which started welcoming the public back last month National Museums Scotland

Only a small proportion of museums in Scotland do not expect to reopen this year, Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) has found.

In a survey of the sector, three quarters of respondents said that they have already opened their doors or planned to do so by August. Just 3% of respondents do not expect to reopen at all in 2021.

At least 168 museums and galleries out of 429 have already reopened across the country. These include the National Museum of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, Kelvingrove Art Gallery Museum in Glasgow, Almond Valley Heritage Centre in West Lothian, the Crannog Centre in Perthshire and the Scottish Fisheries Museum, Fife.

In 2020 only a minority of museums were able to reopen between lockdowns, with a peak of 160 open in early October. MGS has compiled a map of the museums currently open.

Lucy Casot, the chief executive of MGS, said: “Scotland’s museums and galleries are open, safe and ready to welcome visitors. All visitor attractions have had a tough year with greatly reduced visitor numbers and even when restrictions eased last summer a majority of museums were unable to reopen. There is now much more reason to be optimistic and museums and galleries are excited for visitors to enjoy the new experiences and exhibitions awaiting them.  

“Museums have adapted to become Covid safe, many have excellent outdoor spaces and they can be fun and stimulating places to visit for all ages.

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“With continued restrictions on international travel, there will be huge interest in exploring the cultural gems in our own backyards.

“Scotland has a world-class museum offer with hundreds of venues across the country – this is the year that they need the public’s support.”

Scottish museums' reopening plans
32%
Open or planning to open by May
33%
Open or planning to open between May and June
10%
Planning to open between July and August
16%
Unsure when they will open
3%
Do not think they will reopen in 2021

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