Museums Service Survey 2021

Closed 25 Jul 2021

Opened 15 Jun 2021


East Lothian Council operates 4 museums directly, supports the operation of 3 community museums, provides loan collections to schools, care homes and community groups, supports community exhibitions, runs an exhibition, events and activities programme and manages the ELC Museum Collection & museum store.

This survey concerns those museums directly operated by ELC Museums Service. The museum opening hours have remained the same since the opening of the John Gray Centre Museum in 2012. Our museums are:

  • John Muir’s Birthplace, Dunbar (open all year with reduced hours in the winter)
  • John Gray Centre Museum (open all year with reduced hours in the winter)
  • Dunbar Town House Museum and Gallery (open afternoons April to September with additional winter opening hours courtesy of volunteers from Dunbar and District History Society)
  • Prestongrange Museum (Visitor Centre & café open afternoons April to September, site accessible all year)

Why your views matter

Like many aspects of everyday life East Lothian Council Museum Service has been operating in a very different way for the past year. By undertaking this survey we want to make sure that as we emerge from lockdown we are providing a Museum Service that is relevant and which visitors and local people will value.

During the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 all of our museums were closed completely, opening up when permitted with reduced hours and reduced facilities. Whilst open under coronavirus restrictions we had 20-30% of our usual number of visitors, which is a pattern replicated across the country.

‘Museums play a vital role in the lives of individuals, families and communities across Scotland. Their learning and outreach work bridges inequalities in education and mental and physical health provision. Museums help to connect people with their community, while enhancing the experience of visitors to Scotland and bringing a positive economic impact.’ (Museums Galleries Scotland)

However, not everyone can or feels able to visit museums. Leisure and free time is precious and there is enormous competition for visitors’ time. Some people feel that museums are not for them or they may face physical or economic barriers to visiting. We’d like to better understand these barriers & work to remove them and to better understand the impact of our museums and how we can improve what we do.

During lockdowns and under the tier system we have made more and more of our content available online and we have seen an increase in ‘virtual’ visits and engagement both on our websites and on social media. Now that we are able to open to the public again (with restrictions in place) we would like to review our opening hours to ensure they are the best fit for our visitors and potential visitors.


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