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Museums and Galleries prepare to welcome visitors back

In line with the published phased reopening, Live Borders is delighted to update on progress towards reopening Museums, Galleries & Archives across the region, including development of digital access to collections.

Live Borders is working closely with the South of Scotland Destination Alliance and VisitScotland to highlight all our museums and their collections, and where appropriate develop bespoke propositions for those that want to visit.

All Museums & Galleries will open this season, with the first to reopen, those with recognised higher demand and those able to facilitate visitors more safely.

Some of the smaller venues will open in phase two later in the season, in a measured and workable manner. We will work closely with partners and the community to make all museums accessible and as safe as possible in this next period, with a view to an expanded future opening as international travel revives and Covid is further suppressed.

With many people still nervous to travel and visit venues and the added impact of the loss of a significant volume of international tourist footfall, the Live Borders team has been progressing exciting work to bring the collections to you – at home, and to multiple touch points across the region.

Our dedicated team have been working on the integration of our archive and museums’ collections to make them more accessible to people not only in the Borders but world-wide.  The new integrated data platform will allow people to search online for information on 80% of these collections. Available later this summer, this is an unprecedented step-change focusing on improving accessibility and unlocking a plethora of regional history, culture and heritage assets.

This digital initiative will help showcase the amazing collections of over 170,000 objects and artworks to a much wider audience. This will ignite interest and encourage visits to Live Borders Museums and the Archive, particularly when international travel restrictions ease.

Building on the success of the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum when it hosted a live online tour to overseas viewers, we will also target pre-booked groups and develop bespoke virtual experiences to improve the visitor offer in our smaller or less accessible visitor centres and museums.  Through new opportunities to develop online content, learning opportunities and digital access we can excite a wider market and drive future inbound footfall.

This exciting long-term approach of promoting physical and digital access to museum resources, bespoke offerings, new interactive experiences and pre-booked groups will move us forward through the phased reopening of museums this year.

Fiona Colton, Museums, Galleries & Archives Manager for Live Borders said:

“It is great to be re-opening our wonderful museums, galleries, archive and visitor centres after a very frustrating 15 months of lockdown limitations. Jim Clark Motorsport Museum and the Heritage Hub Archive paved the way, re-opening to the public in May. In line with the phased reopening plans we are in a position to expand public access much further and provide a balanced sustainable programme based around using virtual experiences as well as traditional physical access to Live Borders museums, collections and the archive.

“I am confident that providing that balance of digital content, creative virtual presentations, safe physical access and bespoke visitor experiences is the way forward. I am excited about Live Borders Museums, Galleries and Archives entering a new chapter.”

Bookings go live on Monday 14 June for Sir Walter Scott’s Courtroom, Borders Textile Towerhouse and Hawick Museum.

Schedule of museums phase one openings:

Sir Walter Scott’s CourtroomSaturday 26 June
Borders Textile TowerhouseMonday 28 June
Hawick MuseumThursday 1 July