Scottish museums

Three quarters of Scottish museums to be back open this summer, survey finds

Image: The People's Story Museum © Camellia Yang/Unsplash

Research from Museums Galleries Scotland has found that three quarters of Scotland’s museums intend to be open this summer, with very few sites expecting to remain closed for the remainder of 2021.

75% of respondents to the survey have either already reopened to the public or said they would do so by the end of August.

151 museums, over a third of the sector, have already welcomed visitors through their doors since restrictions eased in Scotland. This number includes the National Museum, the National Gallery, Kelvingrove Museum, Almond Valley Heritage Centre, the Crannog Centre and the Scottish Fisheries Museum.

Only 3% of respondents do not expect to reopen at all this year, following on from the chaos of 2020 which saw a peak of just 160 out of 428 museums open between lockdowns in early October.

Surveying Scotland

There are 428 museums and galleries in Scotland managed by 273 organisations. In a survey of these sites conducted by Museums Galleries Scotland:

  • 32% of respondents were open or planning to open in May
  • 33% were planning to open between May and June
  • 10% were planning to open between July and August
  • 16% were unsure when they would reopen
  • 3% of respondents did not think they would reopen in 2021

“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,” notes Lucy Casot, chief executive of Museums Galleries Scotland.

“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.”

Continued restrictions on international travel, Casot adds, will translate into domestic tourists showing “huge interest in exploring the cultural gems in our own backyards”.