Four months equals one million
It seems that it was only yesterday that I was in Edinburgh at the re-opening of the National Museum in Chambers Street. But it was four months ago. A short time. So it is surprising to learn that the museum welcomed its one millionth visitor yesterday since that re-opening.
What an achievement! What a comment on the appeal of the revamped museum. Especially since before it closed it had never reached 850,000 visitors in a single year before.
Museums have a variety of roles not the least of which is as a visitor attraction and they go out of their way to design exhibitions that will draw crowds. But they also must have an interior that visitors must feel comfortable in; to be able to walk around and see without feeling congested and to be able to easily see what is there. The new re-vamp delivers that. CD-Traveller has moaned before that one problem galleries and museums have is that so little is put on show for visitors to see. Not so in Chambers Street where 80% of what they have can be seen.
But museums also have an educational role in informing school children. And it was a child from a local primary school who was the one millionth visitor.
The refurbishments are not over. Although it has 16 new galleries, more are planned. But it will take time and money but only about a third came from the Scottish government. If the museum can attract these sort of numbers then the educational and the tourism value will be of good value. And for visitors remember that all national museums have free entry.
So what is there to encourage you to visit Chambers Street next year? Two major exhibitions are scheduled and one, on ancient Egypt, should be a big crowd-puller since Egypt continues to attract us with tales of Tutankhamun, curses, mummies and family rivalries. The other is on Catherine the Great, no stranger to family quarrels herself, but also a seminal figure in the development of the golden age in Russia.
Chambers Street should have a bumper year ahead of it.
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