People are being encouraged to explore the unique experiences on their doorsteps offered by Scotland’s museums and galleries this Autumn.
Museums Galleries Scotland, the National Development Body for the Scottish museums sector, has turned its support to showcasing what museums and galleries are planning for Autumn and the half term holidays through its reopening campaign and the promotion of an interactive map which highlights the venues that are open across Scotland.
With most of us staying closer to home, museums have focused on giving local families more reasons than ever before to visit, with inspiration and fun at the heart of what’s on offer.
From creating your own earthquakes to storytelling performances, museums and galleries staff have set their sights on making their attractions even more appealing for families looking to spend time together in a safe and stimulating environment.
The sector has received a much-welcome boost with positive feedback from visitors excited to get back into their beloved museums and galleries.
Delighted visitors across Scotland have shared their feedback directly with museum staff, as well as through review sites and social media to applaud the dedication of staff, the quality of exhibitions and the safety measures in place, which have not hampered their fun!
Sam from North Lanarkshire, commented on his trip to Summerlee Museum of Industrial Life in Coatbridge:
“Prior to lockdown we were almost daily visitors to Summerlee as my young man loves it, especially the trams. During lockdown many a walk was spent staring longingly through the fences at the much-loved tram shed. Our first visit back was one of great excitement and joy!
“A trip to the old sweet shop and a toy tram from the gift shop were the icing on the cake.
“Summerlee plays an integral part in our lives, steeped in history and nature it’s a great attraction. We are so happy you are open again.”
Faye from Edinburgh, said this of a visit to Surgeons’ Hall Museums in Edinburgh:
“So detailed and super interesting. Clearly extensive research and effort has gone into all the exhibits. Staff were friendly and welcoming and the Covid-19 protocols are being properly enforced.”
While Jo Watson from Doune said of a visit to the West Highland Museum in Fort William:
“It was wonderful being able to visit my favourite museum again, even with a mask on and an appointment booked well in advance.
“I know how hard the museum staff have worked behind the scenes in getting everything ready for the re-opening and I am very glad to have this part of ‘normalcy’ back in my life again.”
Lucie, age 8, from Stromness, commented on her visit to the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness:
“It’s different being in there with masks, but the artworks are the same! They haven’t changed. Loads of memories came back to me when I see the artworks again.
“They reminded me of when I was small and visiting family, friends and seeing people again. I enjoyed everything, it’s great to be back!”
Lucy Casot, CEO at Museums Galleries Scotland, said:
“We are really pleased that so many visitors have returned to Scotland’s museums and galleries this summer, and we’d love to see that enthusiasm continue for the rest of this year.
“Museums and galleries have worked incredibly hard to create fun, inspiring and, above all, safe experiences for visitors. Now is the time to visit your favourite place, discover somewhere new and experience them like never before.
“This autumn, museums and galleries across Scotland will be offering a fantastic, safe indoor experience, which is perfect for the October holidays!”
Dr Karen Buchanan, Curator at Gairloch Museum in Wester Ross, said:
“Distancing restrictions have forced us to think more imaginatively about the events and activities we run.
“We are now investing in our digital future which, for a museum in a remote location, makes perfect sense as a strategy for increasing audience engagement.”
Dr Helen Scott, Fine Art Curator at City Art Centre in Edinburgh, added:
“I think one of the opportunities to come out of the situation is the chance for visitors to have a more peaceful and intimate gallery experience.
“With limited numbers of people in the galleries at any one time, visitors can now get closer to the artworks and spend more time really looking – uninterrupted by noisy, jostling crowds.”
John Molloy, Creative Learning and Engagement Officer at Moat Brae: Scotland’s National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling in Dumfries, said:
“Like similar organisations, Moat Brae has had to adapt to the new situation we find ourselves in.
“We have done this by developing our use of the garden and by slowly opening up the main house in a controlled manner.
“I am pleased to say that the public response has been overwhelmingly positive, and it has been great to see families back in the Enchanted Land.”
Jessica Skabara, Marketing Assistant at Summerlee Museum of Industrial Life in Coatbridge, said:
“It’s great to welcome our visitors back to a familiar place with friendly faces after being away for so long. Visitors can enjoy everything they love about Summerlee Museum in a safe and relaxed environment.
“With all the machinery turned off, it’s a chance to explore the Exhibition Hall in a quiet and calm atmosphere, and you’ll find yourself taking the time to notice new things without any noisy distractions.”
An interactive map is updated daily and shows which venues are open – it can be accessed online here. Before you go, check the museum’s website for opening times and safety measures that are in place. https://museumsarego.
A promotional video has also been created as part of a digital campaign to support the #MuseumsAreGo campaign.