Both Glasgow’s Riverside Museum and the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street, Edinburgh, have clocked in their 1 millionth visitor.
Less than four months after re-opening, following a three-year, £47 million transformation,
the National Museum of Scotland welcomed its millionth visitor. That person was among the party from Stockbridge Primary School
The landmark figure has been achieved eight months ahead of predictions, and outstrips the previous record figure for a full year. The Museum’s highest attendance then was 833,324 visits in 2007/08, the year before it partially closed for redevelopment.
Visitors from across the world have poured through the Museum’s impressive new street-level entrance and into the spectacular Grand Gallery, from where they have been able to enjoy 16 new galleries. The beautifully-restored Victorian building only last week won the Andrew Doolan Award for the Best Building in Scotland for 2011.
Over 8,000 treasures are on show, 80% of them for the first time. The Natural World Galleries with their life-sized T.rex, and the Museum’s re-positioned Millennium Clock, are among the objects proving the biggest hit with visitors. Another firm favourite is the Window on the World, the UK’s biggest single museum installation, which features an array of nearly 900 objects representing the diversity of the Museum’s collections.
A spectacular opening ceremony on Chambers Street in July saw nearly 6,000 people pass through the doors in the first hour. Now the entire first year target has been reached in under four months.
National Museums Scotland is building on this success with a programme of blockbuster exhibitions in its new, larger, purpose-built space for special exhibitions. The first major new shows will feature Ancient Egypt and a Russian Empress when ‘Fascinating Mummies’ and ‘Catherine the Great’ open in 2012.
Gordon Rintoul, Director, National Museums Scotland said: ‘To reach this monumental visitor figure so far ahead of our predictions is an incredible achievement. Years of planning, fund raising and hard work have gone into realising our vision of creating a world-class museum that sits firmly at the heart of Scotland’s cultural landscape. To receive such a positive response from the public is truly amazing. People really are voting with their feet and giving a massive endorsement to all of the dedication, knowledge and creativity of our staff and supporters. We are delighted.’
Equal enthusiasm was shown at Glasgow’s £74 million Riverside museum which is now become the city’s most popular attraction since it opened on June 21. On June 25 more than 15,000 people streamed through its doors.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, the Leader of Glasgow City Council was on hand this week to welcome the 1millionth visitor – 7 -year-old Sam Irving and his family from Dumfries. Said Councillor Matheson:’ The public response to the Riverside Museum has been phenomenal and the museum has coped brilliantly. The place has comprehensively beaten the visitor number projections and is now a ‘must see’ attraction in Glasgow and Scotland. I’m delighted for Sam that he is our 1millionth visitor and we look forward to many millions more in years to come.’
The Riverside Museum houses more than 3000 exhibits in over 150 interactive displays demonstrating the quality of ’Clyde Built’. From massive steam locomotives to recreation city streets of the 1900s, the cathedral-like structure provides a stunning backdrop to showcase the innovation and ambition of Glasgow which was ‘Second City of the Empire.’
Sam said it was ‘cool’ to be the VIP 1 millionth visitor. The family were on their second visit and Sam’s favourite display was the bikes: ‘Because I like to go out on my bike at home.’ His mum Susan, added: ‘It’s a fantastic place and great for kids with all the interactive displays. It’s also good for Sam’s dad who was a mechanic and acts just like a big kid himself when he’s here. It’s a great day out for all the family.’
The Museum has played host to big events such as a seafood festival and a spellbinding performance by Scottish cyclist Danny MacAskill whose bike is one of the exhibits. Highlights at the Riverside include the Wall of Cars, the hanging Bicycle Velodrome, the South African Locomotive, No 9 Tank Engine, Motorbike Deck. For more information see: www.glasgowmuseums.com/riverside