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A woman cleans a glass case containing the Lewis chessmen, ahead of the reopening of National Museums Scotland venues.

After an unprecedented five months’ closure, National Museums Scotland will soon be reopening its doors and welcoming visitors back to three of Scotland’s major museums.

The National Museum of Scotland, National Museum of Flight, and the National Museum of Rural Life will reopen in August.

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, enhanced cleaning, sneeze screens, hand-sanitising stations and one-way routes.

Dr Chris Breward, Director of National Museums Scotland said,

“We’ve missed our visitors and are thrilled to be welcoming them back to our museums. We have enjoyed creating a vibrant digital experience during closure, but nothing compares with that exhilarating feeling which comes from encountering real objects in our unique buildings. It has been a difficult time for so many and we know our museums have a vital role to play in people’s lives – as places to enjoy time with family and friends, promoting well-being and offering inspiration through our wonderful collections. 

“The safety of our staff and visitors is paramount and everyone can feel confident that we have been working incredibly hard across all of our sites to ensure their visit will be both safe and enjoyable. Things may feel a little different when you visit, but we are still here, your much-loved museums, with a few additional measures to keep you safe.”

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 museums. Museum shops and cafés will also be open, for cashless payments only.

All museums will operate their normal opening hours except for the National Museum of Scotland which will open from 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 visitor experience at all the museums has been reviewed and, to begin with, there will be a more limited offer than usual at each museum, with ‘high-touch’ areas, and spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained remaining closed.

Online booking for the National Museum of Flight opens on 31 July 2020. Visitors will enjoy free admission to the historic airfield and Concorde hangar from 5 –16 August, with paid entry resuming on 17 August with the opening of additional hangars.

Online booking for the National Museum of Rural Life opens on 7 August 2020. The historic farmhouse will remain closed but visitors will be able to enjoy the museum and farm.

Online booking for free tickets to the National Museum of Scotland opens 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 opening in due course.

The latest information and guidance on how to visit all museums can be found on the National Museums website.

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