THE OPERATOR of the Shetland Museum and Archives hopes to reopen the building “as soon as it is appropriate to do so”.
As it stands the building will remain closed to the public until mid-February, in line with schools and leisure centres.
Interim chief executive of museum operator Shetland Amenity Trust Sandy Middleton said the organisation was also keen to align with the NHS Shetland message of “stay at home”.
“Officially under tier three museums can reopen and we do have a lot of measures in place to enable that, we just didn’t feel it was appropriate at this time,” Middleton said.
“We will look to reopen as soon as we can, and as soon as we think it’s appropriate to do so. But at the moment it just didn’t feel right to do that.”
She added that the “numbers [of coronavirus cases] are going down so hopefully we’ll be able to reopen soon.”
Although the museum would be generally quiet in winter, yesterday – Lerwick Up Helly Aa – “would have been one of our busiest days of the year”.
The amenity trust, meanwhile, has secured over £60,000 in funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise to improve outdoor spaces at some of its sites in light of the Covid pandemic.
Middleton said it will include putting benches and tables at Sumburgh Head, the museum and the Viking longship in Unst to “improve the outdoor spaces for folk to come and enjoy them”.
It comes after the trust was awarded nearly £74,000 from the historic environment recovery fund for preparing the Sumburgh Head lighthouse for the 2021 season.
Part of this was to prepare a new business plan and Middleton said this included making sure the offering at the visitor centre will attract locals and cover its costs.
“Sumburgh Head doesn’t have any public funding in it, so it’s got to cover its costs with ticket sales, donations, events and so on. With the local market, that becomes increasingly difficult,” she said.
“What we’re trying to do is just make sure we’re got a really good programme of engagement for this coming summer, very aware that it’s going to be a predominantly Shetland market.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 430 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News