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, face coverings, enhanced cleaning, sneeze screens, hand sanitising stations and one-way routes in certain areas of the museum where physical distancing is not possible.

 

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.
  • Face coverings must be worn by visitors over 5 years old.

 

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

Do I need to wear a face covering?

In line with Scottish Government guidelines, all visitors over the age of 5 must wear a face covering.

What if I’m not able to wear a face covering?

It is now mandatory that all visitors over the age of 5 wear a face covering whilst visiting our museums. However, there are exemptions for those, for example with a health condition, disability, physical or mental impairment, who are unable to do so. Not all exemptions are visible so please be understanding.

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 for every member of your group in advance of your visit. This includes National Museums Scotland Members.

 

Please note that we are not able to accommodate groups that are from more than one household at the moment. To comply with Scottish Government guidelines and to help us with NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect, you can book up to six tickets for yourself and other members of your household only. Please also make sure you have booked a ticket for every member of your group, including children under five years of age. 

How do I book?

Please book a free timed entry ticket online for every member of your group in advance of your visit. 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.

 

If you require access assistance with ticketing, please call 0300 123 6789 and a member of staff will be able to help you.

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?

To comply with Scottish Government guidelines and to help us with NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect, you can book up to six tickets for yourself and other members of your household only. Please make sure you have booked a ticket for every member of your group, including children under five years of age. All members of your party must arrive at the same time to be granted entry. 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 physical 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 is now open with 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 welcome visitors back to the museum, the reopening of galleries will be phased. Level 0 (Entrance Hall level) and parts of Level 1 (Grand Gallery level), Level 3 and Level 5 are now open.

 

A new visitor map shows which galleries and facilities are open, and new trails have been developed for use in the museum. These include a Family Puzzle trail, a Staff Top Picks trail and an audio-led Reset trail to help you find moments of calm and mindfulness. 

 

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

 

Spaces with a high number of interactive displays and high-touch areas, such as the Imagine, Explore and Adventure Planet galleries, are 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 is a new display of objects from our Scottish collections in Hawthornden Court, and our Scotland’s Precious Seas display is 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 are no events, activities or guided tours during this period. However, there are three new museum trails to help guide and inspire your visit.

Toilets, facilities and access

Are the toilets open?

Our toilets are 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 are in operation, however we ask that you use the stairs if able as the capacity is limited.

Can I borrow a wheelchair?

Wheelchairs are available for loan whilst visiting the museum and are 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?

The Balcony Café (Level 3) is open daily from 10:30–16:30 for tea, coffee, home baking, snacks and freshly prepared soup, sandwiches, salads and children's lunch boxes. Please note we are accepting card payments only.

 

The Museum Brasserie is temporarily closed, as is the lunch space.

Shops

Are the museum shops open?

The Museum Shops on Level 0 and Level 3 are open to pre-booked museum visitors. The shops are accepting card payments only.

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

In line with Scottish Government guidelines, all visitors over the age of 5 must wear a face covering in our shops.

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