Museum welcomes millionth visitor

A T Rex skeleton is one of the items on display at the revamped museum

THE National Museum of Scotland has welcomed its millionth visitor, less than four months after re-opening.

The landmark figure has been achieved eight months ahead of predictions, and outstrips the previous record figure for a full year.

The Museum’s highest attendance then was 833,324 visits in 2007/08, the year before it partially closed for redevelopment.

Following a three-year, £47 million transformation, visitors from across the world have poured through the Museum’s impressive new street-level entrance and into the spectacular Grand Gallery, from where they have been able to enjoy 16 new galleries.

The beautifully-restored Victorian building last week won the Andrew Doolan Award for theBestBuildinginScotlandfor 2011.

A spectacular opening ceremony onChambers Streetin July saw nearly 6,000 people pass through the doors in the first hour.

In all, 22,000 visitors packed the Museum on opening day, and the 100,000 mark was reached in just six days. Now the entire first year target has been reached in under four months.

The millionth visitor to the National Museum of Scotland was among the party fromStockbridgePrimary School, who visited on Thursday, November 24.

Gordon Rintoul, Director, National MuseumsScotlandsaid: “To reach this monumental visitor figure so far ahead of our predictions is an incredible achievement.  Years of planning, fundraising and hard work have gone into realising our vision of creating a world-class museum that sits firmly at the heart ofScotland’s cultural landscape.  To receive such a positive response from the public is truly amazing.

“People really are voting with their feet and giving a massive endorsement to all of the dedication, knowledge and creativity of our staff and supporters.  We are delighted.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Since its magnificent transformation, the National Museum of Scotland has become a magnet for local, national and international visitors – but to reach a million in such a short space of time is a remarkable achievement.

“Its extraordinary collections displayed in such spectacular, award-winning surroundings have firmly established it as a world-class must-see attraction.”