Shetland Museum and Archives - Reopening Plans

The Shetland Museum and Archives plans to reopen to the public on Thursday 16th July with a new booking system and measures in place to maintain social distancing. Opening will be subject to final approval from Trustees and the Shetland Islands Council.

Sandy Middleton, Head of Engagement for the Shetland Amenity Trust who operate the Museum and Archives said, “When people visit the Museum and Archives they want it to be an interesting and enjoyable experience. The risks associated with the pandemic mean that people are now vigilant about so many things we took for granted before, particularly how close they are to one another and how clean everything is. We have been working hard to review best practice from around the world and implement Government guidelines for our sector.”

Visitors to the Museum and Archives will be asked to book online or by phone before visiting – as always, entry to the Museum and Archive will be free with donations welcome. The Museum Galleries have been split into zones with a one-way system in place. Timed tickets will enable visitors to explore the different zones whilst maintaining social distancing. With the café currently closed, an indoor picnic area has been created with limited tables available to book which are spread out to ensure social distancing is maintained. Visitors to the shop only will be welcome at any time.

Sandy continued, “Even if the ‘2 metre rule’ is relaxed, we will stick to 2 metres as best practice – we want people to feel safe and to have a natural flow through the site whilst ensuring people can enjoy all we have to offer. The ticket system means that there are no crowds around display cases and galleries so the whole experience should be pleasant and relaxed. We are also developing a variety of activities specifically for our younger visitors and encouraging people to bring a picnic with them. Without the usual crowds of tourists, this is the perfect time for locals to rediscover Shetland’s heritage in their own five star museum.”

Full risk assessments and building checks have been completed and cleaning and sanitation procedures have been stepped up too. Visitors will be encouraged to use hand sanitiser at regular intervals during their visit and asked to wear face coverings.

Sandy said, “We are also working hard on phased reopening plans for our visitor attraction at Sumburgh Head and our Lighthouse and Camping Bod accommodation and hope to announce these soon. A review and risk assessment has also been undertaken for the Crofthouse Museum at Boddam. Unfortunately, due to the nature of this historic building, the introduction of social distancing on the site is not currently possible and as such it will likely remain closed for the remainder of the season.”

A UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark ‘We’re Good to Go’ has been developed by VisitBritain in collaboration with VisitScotland and others to provide confidence for visitors, communities and tourism businesses alike. The Shetland Amenity Trust are working towards this accreditation and hope to receive confirmation of the award before opening.

Full details of the experience and how to book will be made available on the Museum and Archives website shortly in the Visit Us section.

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