Museums across the Highlands are welcoming back their local communities with free (or greatly reduced) entry, inviting them to see new exhibitions and acquisitions first!
To celebrate the reopening of museums, following COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, thirteen Highlands and Islands museums are taking part in a new MYseum campaign which sees them offering free (or reduced priced) entry to local residents for the month of May.
Starting this Saturday (May 1) The MYseum campaign is designed to encourage residents local to each museum to rediscover the history and heritage on their doorstep and re-engage with their local museums, many of which have remained closed for the past year.
Local museums, which are run primarily by volunteers, have been hit-hard during the pandemic as they rely heavily on income from visitors, but with support from XpoNorth Heritage and Museums and Heritage Highland many have worked hard during lockdown to reimagine their offering and produce engaging online content to stay connected to their communities – locally and internationally. Examples include Groam House Museum’s ‘Groam at Home’ collection which saw worldwide attendees discover and enjoy the museum’s content and its work to digitise the George Bain Collection, a recognised collection of national significance to Scotland. Highland Folk Museum launched its Badenoch Shinty Memories project and an online exhibition titled ‘Am Baile’ and West Highland Museum created a digital gallery in partnership with the University of St Andrews showcasing 100 objects in its collection.
As lockdown restrictions ease, local museums are eager to welcome visitors back to their venues by extending a warm welcome to local families. Some of the museums taking part in the initiative include Glencoe Folk Museum, which is putting its hugely popular Clan Donald Genealogical Chart on display; Museum of the Isles, Armadale Castle, Skye, which is launching a new outdoor learning space in early summer for Covid-safe family activities and events; Art Fund Museum of the Year, Gairloch Museum which has a new animation on the Gille Dubh, narrated by Sam Heughan, a new exhibition on Botanical Art by Cindie Reiter and a new photography exhibition, Scotland from the Sky to share; Highland Museum of Childhood, which will be unveiling its new main gallery following a lockdown refurbishment; Dingwall Museum, which will be opening with a fantastic new installation of the Conan Pictish Stone; Cromarty Courthouse Museum, which has installed a new digital sound system over lockdown and is launching a new soundscape experience, scripted and voiced by local people; Groam House Museum is launching with a fascinating exhibition, The Book Of Kells, Some Mysteries Revealed, exploring how The Book of Kells has inspired two specific artists and craftspeople: George Bain and Thomas Keyes; Inverness Museum and Art Gallery has created a dog-themed family trail around the museum to launch its latest acquisition: ‘On the Moors’ – an oil painting by Richard Ansdell; and Grantown Museum has a brand new Victorian gallery to explore, ‘Grantown: 1882’ including 21 gorgeous replica costumes on display ready for its ‘Adventures in Costume’ project to begin.
Six further museums, Castlehill Heritage Centre, West Highland Museum, Wick Heritage Museum, Brora Heritage Centre, Tain Museum and Nairn Museum are all expected to re-open in June.
Talking about the MYseum campaign, Nicola Henderson, Heritage Sector Specialist at XpoNorth said: ‘’The independent museum sector has been hard hit during the pandemic with some museums not being open since the end of 2019. However, with support from organisations such as XpoNorth and Museums and Heritage Highland, all have been very agile in finding new ways to engage online and through collaborating with each other on activities such as the beautiful Highland Threads exhibition, showcasing 14 costumes from across the region through video and photography, and the Highland Objects podcast series. Now they are ready to welcome back visitors and they want to start with their local community. Staff, volunteers and visitors will all be nervous as we adjust to visiting venues again so their invitation to the community is to say thank you and welcome back, allowing them to engage with their exhibitions and new objects on display first and to help build confidence for all in this new world.’
Museums are offering free or reduced entry for local residents on presentation of proof of address. Re-opening dates vary. For detailed information on opening times and booking policies, please contact the museum directly before travel.
Glencoe Folk Museum.
Reopening 13th May – Thurs-Sunday only, 11-3pm, last entry 2.30pm.
Free entry to locals
Museum of the Isles, Armadale Castle, Skye.
Reopening – 26th April. Open daily 9.30 – 17.30, museum 9.45 – 17.00
Paid entry for all – but significant discounts for locals (Skye, Lochalsh, Mallaig)
Reopening – 27th April
Free entry for locals from April 27 to May 15 – contact the museum on 01445 712 287 or by email to email@example.com to arrange your booking.
Reopening – 30th April – 22nd May for Locals
Free access for locals, but donations welcome.
Castlehill Heritage Centre
Reopening – early/mid June
Entry always free to all – donations welcome. Fully accessible and ample parking.
Wick Heritage Museum.
Reopening 4th June
Free entry to locals for first 2 weeks
Reopens on May 17th, 2021
Price: Adult £4, Concession £3, Child£2, Family£10 (2 adults & 2 children), Group concession (over10 people) £2.65, Group £3.50 (over 10 people), School group £1.75.
Free entry to locals and members.
Opening times: every day, 10am – 5pm.
Please note, the museum and cafe capacity have been reduced to ensure social distancing. You can book a slot in advance by contacting us on 01431 821327 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Brora Heritage Centre
Re-opening: End June (date TBC
Reopening – Monday 26th April.
Admission £4 for adults £3.00 for concessions. Members and children are free. We have a limit of 10 people in the museum and this is controlled by a traffic light system. Online booking is available but not essential.
Open day with free admission to the local community on Saturday 22nd May (TBC)
Reopening – 28th June. Free for locals
Tarbat Discovery Centre
Reopening – 1st May. pre booked visits only for up to 6 individuals from two households. Please go to https://www.tarbat-discovery.co.uk/booking-formpage to view the available times and book your visit.
Highland Museum of Childhood
Reopening – Thursday 20th May and will be open Thursday to Saturday, 11:00-16:00 and Sundays, 12:00-16:00.
Free access to all for May.
Reopening – mid May, exact date TBC.
Free for all
Cromarty Courthouse Museum
Reopening on Saturday 29th May, our 2021 season will run to Thursday 30 September.
Opening hours: 12.00am – 4.00pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays plus Bank Holiday Mondays. Closed on Mondays and Fridays.
Free admission to all.
Groam House Museum
Groam House Museum, High Street, Rosemarkie IV10 8UF
Reopening 1st May – weekend afternoons only. Additional opening over the summer. Please book via our website or at the museum.
Entry to the museum is free.
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
Reopening – 27th April. Entry by donation. Booking is advisable (as we have a maximum capacity) but not essential.
Tuesday – Saturday: 10.00-13.00 and 13.45-17.00 (last booking at 16.00)
Sunday & Monday: CLOSED
Highlanders Museum, Fort George
Reopening – 30th April, everyday from 10am. Entry to museum is free, but you do have to pay to enter Fort George – unless you become a member of the museum (£10 a year) then you can get full free entry. https://www.thehighlandersmuseum.com/
Reopening – start of June (TBC Thursday 3rd) Limited day of opening, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 11-3pm
Reopening – 1st May, everyday apart from Tuesdays. Free access to all in May
Highland Folk Museum
Reopening – 5th May, entry by donation. 7 days 10am – 5pm
Collaborative Project links:
Highland Threads – www.HighlandThreads.co.uk
Highland Objects – https://highlandobjects.wordpress.com/
Thanks to Gairloch Museum for the picture – featured are the Front of House team Eilidh Smith, Beryl Seaman and Barbara Mackenzie