Reopening FAQs

Learn more about what’s changed to help you plan your visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

We've put together answers to some common questions to help you plan your visit to the National Museum of Scotland. If you have any questions which aren’t answered here, please email info@nms.ac.uk or call 0300 123 6789.

Health and safety

What health and safety measures are in place?

A range of new safety measures have been put in place in line with Scottish Government guidelines. This includes pre-booked timed entry, enhanced cleaning, sneeze screens, hand sanitising stations and one-way routes in certain areas of the museum where physical distancing is not possible.

 

Please do not visit the museum if you or anyone in your household has any symptoms of Coronavirus.

 

We want you to have a safe and enjoyable visit. During your visit, we ask you to:

 

  • Please keep your distance from others (2m).
  • Use the hand sanitiser provided.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Follow the footprints for directions.
  • Please note card payments only.
  • Any questions? Our Visitor Experience team will be delighted to help.

Do I need to wear a face covering?

In line with Scottish Government guidelines, face coverings must be worn in our indoor spaces and shops.

Will staff be wearing protective equipment?

Masks and face screens are available to all staff who wish to use them and who are unable to adhere to social distancing measures because of the nature of their role.

Is there a reason I shouldn’t visit the museum?

Please do not visit the museum if you or anyone in your household has any symptoms of Coronavirus.

Timed ticketing

Why do I need to pre-book a timed entry ticket?

Free timed entry has been introduced to ensure that we can manage numbers and maintain physical distancing. Please book a free timed entry ticket online in advance of your visit. This includes National Museums Scotland Members.

 

Priority booking for National Museums Scotland Members will open at 10:00 on 12 August 2020. Become a Member today to receive a pre-release code to secure your tickets.

 

General release tickets will be available from 10:00 on 14 August 2020.

How do I book?

Please book a free timed entry ticket online. If you are unable to book online, please call 0300 123 6789. Once you have booked, you will be sent an email confirmation and order number to bring with you when you visit.

 

National Museums Scotland Members receive priority booking two days before the general public and an allocation of Member tickets for all dates. Just enter your Membership number in the 'promo code' box on the booking page to access the allocation. Once you have booked, you will be sent an email confirmation and order number to bring with you when you visit. Please also bring your National Museums Scotland Membership card.

When will tickets be released?

We are releasing timed entry tickets in two-week blocks so that we can manage the number of bookings carefully. Learn more about free timed entry tickets for the National Museum of Scotland.

How many tickets can I book, and can I bring a group?

Small groups of up to six people can visit the museum by booking free timed entry tickets in advance. All members of the party must arrive at the same time to be granted entry. Please only book tickets for yourself and your household, to help us comply with NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect. We are unfortunately unable to accommodate school and large group visits at this time.

I am a Member. Do I still need to pre-book a timed entry ticket?

Yes, all visitors, including our Members, need to book a free timed entry ticket online in advance of their visit. This will ensure that we can manage numbers and maintain social distancing.

 

National Museums Scotland Members receive priority booking two days before the general public and an allocation of Member tickets for all dates. Just enter your Membership number in the 'promo code' box on the booking page to access the allocation. Once you have booked, you will be sent an email confirmation and order number to bring with you when you visit. Please also bring your National Museums Scotland Membership card.

I am a Member. The Member ticket allocation is sold out. Should I still pre-book a general ticket?

If the Member ticket allocation sells out, Members are able to book free timed entry tickets from the remaining allocation. Instructions for how to do so can be found on our booking page.

I am a Corporate Member or Patron. How do I pre-book a free timed entry ticket?

Please book your free timed entry ticket online before you attend. Enter your Corporate Member or Patron number in the 'promo code' box on the booking page to access the Member ticket allocation.

I am a carer. Do I need to pre-book a ticket?

All visitors, including carers, need to book a free timed entry ticket online in advance of their visit.

I’ve changed my plans. Can I swap my ticket?

If you are no longer able to attend on the day for which you have booked tickets, please cancel your tickets so that someone else can enjoy visiting. To do this, go to your email confirmation, then click on 'View and manage your order online'. Then click 'Cancel tickets'. You can then book for another available timeslot.

I haven’t received my confirmation email.

Please check your junk or spam folder. If you still cannot find your confirmation, please email info@nms.ac.uk with the details of your booking and we will resend your booking confirmation to you. You can also view and print your tickets from your Eventbrite account.

Arrival at the museum

When is the National Museum of Scotland open?

The museum reopens from 19 August 2020. We have new temporary opening hours of 10:30–16:30 each day.

 

Please book a free timed entry ticket online in advance of your visit. This includes National Museums Scotland Members.

What do I do when I arrive at the museum?

When you arrive at the museum you must present your pre-booked timed entry ticket (either printed or on a smartphone) or provide your order number. You will be checked in by our staff before you can start your visit. Please ensure you arrive at the museum within your arrival slot. If you arrive more than 15 minutes either before or after your slot, we may not be able to grant you entry.

Which entrance do I use?

Please enter the museum via the west door on Chambers Street which will be clearly signposted. The Tower entrance is an accessible entrance only for groups with visitors who have additional mobility requirements or buggies.

Will there be queues?

Advance timed entry ticketing will help reduce queueing to enter the museum. To help our staff provide an enjoyable experience for all visitors, please arrive within the arrival slot shown on your ticket.

How long can I stay at the museum?

You must arrive within the arrival slot shown on your ticket but are welcome to stay in the museum for as long as you like until closing time. Please be aware we have amended opening hours of 10:30–16:30 each day.

What's open?

Which parts of the museum will be open?

As we begin to welcome visitors back to the museum, the reopening of galleries will be phased, with Level 0 (Entrance Hall level) and Level 1 (Grand Gallery level) opening first.

 

A new display of objects from our Scottish collections will be in Hawthornden Court, and our Scotland’s Precious Seas display will be open on Level 1.

 

A new visitor map shows which galleries and facilities will be open. We are also developing new trails for adults and families, and these will be available to download soon.

 

Spaces with a high number of interactive displays and high-touch areas, such as the Imagine and Explore galleries, will be temporarily closed for your safety. While Explore is closed we have moved Dolly the sheep to a new location in the Animal World gallery (Level 1). Look out for her under the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.

Will special exhibitions be open?

To make your visit as safe as possible for you and our staff, no special exhibitions will be offered when we initially reopen. However, there will be a new display of objects from our Scottish collections in Hawthornden Court, and our Scotland’s Precious Seas display will be open on Level 1, just off the Grand Gallery. We will announce our exhibition plans in due course.

Are events, activities and guided tours going ahead?

There will be no events, activities or guided tours during this period. However, there will be new trails for adults and families, and these will be available to download soon.

Toilets, facilities and access

Are the toilets open?

Toilets on Level 0 and Level 1 of the museum will be open, including accessible toilets, a Changing Places (U) toilet and baby changing facilities. In line with Scottish Government guidelines and our commitment to ensure the safety of our visitors as much as possible, we have increased the frequency and expanded the cleaning regime in these facilities each day. Please speak to the team should you have any questions during your visit.

Is the cloakroom open?

The cloakroom is temporarily closed, so please do not bring any items to the museum that you are unable to carry with you.

Is there an accessible entrance?

The Tower entrance is an accessible entrance only for groups with visitors who have additional mobility requirements or buggies.

Can I use the lifts?

Lifts from the Entrance Hall to Level 1 will be in operation, however we ask that you use the stairs if able as the capacity is limited.

Can I borrow a wheelchair?

Wheelchairs will be available for loan whilst visiting the museum and will be cleaned thoroughly between uses. Wheelchairs cannot be booked in advance, so please speak with our staff about availability on arrival.

Food and drink

Are the cafés open?

A pop-up café in Hawthornden Court (Level 1) will be open, serving drinks, sandwiches and snacks. Please note we are accepting card payments only.

 

The Museum Brasserie and Balcony Café are temporarily closed, as is the lunch space.

Shops

Are the museum shops open?

The Museum Shop (Level 0) will be open, accepting card payments only.

Do I need to wear a face covering in the shop?

Yes, in line with Scottish Government guidelines, face coverings must be worn in our shops

Back to top

We’re reopening our museums

After nearly five months of closure, we have started to welcome visitors back to our museums with a phased reopening.

Find out more