Sign outside the People's Story Museum, Edinburgh, Scotland (c) Stefan Schäfer, Lich. Licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:People%27sStorySign.jpg

Edinburgh to reopen museums seven days a week

Patrick Steel and Jonathan Knott, 26.02.2018
Extra £95,000 announced for 2018-19 budget
Edinburgh City Council has agreed £95,000 in its 2018-19 budget to reopen its museums and galleries seven days a week.

The council reduced opening hours at six of its museums and galleries in October 2016, moving from a six or seven day a week service to five days a week. The change brought savings of £82,000 in staffing costs in 2016-17, with a further £84,000 projected for 2017-18.

But a review for the council's culture and communities committee found that in 2016-17, visitor numbers fell across five sites by more than 100,000 – a 21% drop. The museums’ income from retail sales and donations fell by more than £75,000 (25%) in the same period.

The council voted the funding through at a budget meeting last Thursday and will review the changes after six months. Museums Journal understands that future funding is dependent on raised income targets being met.

Following the budget vote, a report will go to the council's Culture and Communities Committee on 20 March to ratify the decision to implement the operating hours.

“It is our responsibility to protect our historic legacy and build a sustainable future for our city,” councillor Donald Wilson told those at the meeting, announcing the decision to row back on the closures. “This will give consistency and confidence regarding opening times that I have no doubt will increase footfall and income over the year.”

Christine McLean, the Museums Association's Scotland representative, said: "It’s very encouraging news that City of Edinburgh Council has agreed funding to re-open its museums and galleries seven days a week. This sends a strong message across the sector and in particular, in a local authority context, of the impact of museums and galleries on both local audiences and to visitors to the city. It is important also for staff working in the sector to have their contribution recognised and valued."

Update
05.03.2018

Updated to include comment from the Museums Association's Scotland representative.

Comments

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01.03.2018, 13:54
Excellent news! Well done Edinburgh City Council for this positive decision. Hopefully other local authorities responsible for museum opening hours will learn from their example –