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Welcome Back to the National Museum of Scotland

Wednesday 19 August, 2020

After an unprecedented five months’ closure, the National Museum of Scotland will reopen its doors, welcoming visitors back from Wednesday 19 August.

Online booking for free, timed tickets to the National Museum of Scotland opened on 14 August 2020. The reopening of galleries will be phased, with the entrance hall and level 1 galleries including the Grand Gallery opening first, and further floors in due course. The visitor experience has also been reviewed, with any ‘high-touch’ areas, and spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained remaining closed initially.

In line with Scottish Government guidelines, a range of measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of visitors and staff. This includes pre-booked timed entry, face coverings, enhanced cleaning, sneeze screens, hand-sanitising stations and one-way routes.

Dr Chris Breward, Director of National Museums Scotland said,

“We are really pleased to be able to welcome visitors back to the National Museum of Scotland. It’s such a treasured public space, and I know that many people will be just like me – excited to become reacquainted with objects almost as though they were old friends, including the Lewis chess pieces, T.rex, Dolly the Sheep or the amazing Paco Rabanne metal tunic.

“The safety of our staff and visitors is paramount, which is why we are taking a phased approach to reopening among a host of other measures designed to make sure everyone can feel confident that their visit will be both safe and enjoyable.”

One of the most notable changes is that all visitors, including Members, will have to book a timed entry slot online before visiting. This allows visitor numbers to be managed so that physical distancing can be maintained within the museum. In response to the most recent Scottish Government advice face coverings are now required in all our indoor spaces. The Museum shop and a pop-up café will also be open, for cashless payments only.

The National Museum of Scotland’s opening hours will change to 10.30 – 16.30. This is to allow the large staff team to arrive and implement their daily health and safety checks of the building safely.

The Museum will reopen with two new displays for visitors to enjoy. Marking the Year of Coasts and Waters, Scotland’s Precious Sea highlights the unique beauty and significance of Scotland’s marine life, reflected in the diversity of National Museums Scotland’s research collections. Meanwhile, New Thinking, New Collecting will show a selection of recent acquisitions and previously undisplayed material.

The National Museum of Flight and the National Museum of Rural Life re-opened with the same measures in place on 5 and 12 August respectively. The reopening of the National War Museum, which is located inside Edinburgh Castle, will be announced at a later date in collaboration with Historic Environment Scotland and the opening of the other internal spaces at the Castle.

The latest information and guidance on how to visit all museums can be found on our website:

National Museums Scotland has been awarded the UK-wide, industry standard “We’re Good To Go” accreditation. This means we have been following Government and public health guidelines, have carried our Covid-19 risk assessments and have the appropriate processes in place.

17 August 2020

Ends Further information and images from Susan Gray, Press Office, email, Bruce Blacklaw or Alice Wyllie

Notes to Editors

1. National Museum of Scotland exhibitions

The exhibitions programme has been suspended for the time being and new dates will be announced in due course.

2. National Museums Scotland is one of the leading museum groups in the UK and Europe and it looks after collections of national and international importance. The organisation provides loans, partnerships, research and training in Scotland and internationally. Our individual museums are the National Museum of Scotland, the National Museum of Flight, the National Museum of Rural Life and the National War Museum. The National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh houses conservation and research facilities as well as collections not currently on display.

Twitter: @NtlMuseumsScot
Facebook: @NationalMuseumsScotlandInstagram: @NationalMuseumsScotland

3. Bheireadh Oifis nam Meadhanan eadar-theangachadh Gàidhlig den bhrath-naidheachd seachad do bhuidhinn mheadhanan bharantaichte. Cuiribh fios do dh'Oifis nam Meadhanan airson bruidhinn air cinn-latha freagarrach.

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