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Reopening Survey Results

Many of Scotland’s museums will be open and ready to welcome visitors this summer, the development body Museums Galleries Scotland has said after a survey of the sector found only a tiny number of respondents did not expect to reopen this year.

Three quarters of respondents said that they have already opened their doors or would do so by August. Only three per cent of respondents do not expect to reopen at all in 2021.

153 museums, or over one third of the sector, have already reopened across the country.

Museums Galleries Scotland has provided funding to help venues adapt to become compliant with Covid restrictions.

Museums to already open their doors to the public include the National Museum, the National Gallery, Kelvingrove Museum, Almond Valley Heritage Centre, the Crannog Centre and the Scottish Fisheries Museum.

Edinburgh’s City Art Centre, which reopened Saturday 15 May, is one gallery to have prepared a new exhibition to welcome visitors.

In 2020 only a minority of museums were able to reopen between lockdowns, with a peak of 160 of 429 open in early October.

A map of museums currently open is available at

Lucy Casot, Chief Executive of Museums Galleries Scotland, said:

“Scotland’s museums and galleries are open, safe and ready to welcome visitors.

“All visitor attractions have had a tough year with greatly reduced visitor numbers and even when restrictions eased last summer a majority of museums were unable to reopen. There is now much more reason to be optimistic and museums and galleries are excited for visitors to enjoy the new experiences and exhibitions awaiting them.

“Museums have adapted to become Covid safe, many have excellent outdoor spaces and they can be fun and stimulating places to visit for all ages.

“With continued restrictions on international travel, there will be huge interest in exploring the cultural gems in our own backyards.

“Scotland has a world-class museum offer with hundreds of venues across the country – this is the year that they need the public’s support.”

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener at City of Edinburgh Council, said:

“We’re very much looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the City Art Centre from this weekend.

“The City Art Centre is one of the most accessible places in Edinburgh for art lovers and home to the Capital’s art collection, one of the finest in the Country.

“We’re delighted to reopen with the very best of Scottish art – a ground breaking retrospective Charles H. Mackie: Colour and Light together with Bright Shadows: Scottish Art in the 1920s. With two more free exhibitions opening later in the month featuring the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay and Donald Smith, we’re sure that everybody will discover something they will enjoy.

“I’d like to reassure people that we will continue to ensure the safety of visitors and our staff and will adhere to the latest public guidance.”



There are 429 museums and galleries in Scotland managed by 273 organisations.

36%, or 153, are currently reopen – in line with the respondents to the survey.

In a survey conducted by Museums Galleries Scotland:

32% of respondents were open or planning to open by May
33% of respondents were planning to open between May and June
10% of respondents were planning to open between July and August
16% of respondents were unsure when they would reopen
3% of respondents did not think they would reopen in 2021