National Museum breaks two million visitor barrier for the first time

A blockbuster exhibition on Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites has helped visitor numbers at Scotland's busiest ever visitor attraction break the two million barrier for the first time.

Curator Adrienne Hynes with part of Bonnie Prince Charlie's travelling canteen, one of the star objects in the exhibition.
Curator Adrienne Hynes with part of Bonnie Prince Charlie's travelling canteen, one of the star objects in the exhibition.

The National Museum of Scotland, which reached the milestone today, played host to more 300 paintings, costume, documents, weapons, books and other objects owned by the exiled kings for four months this year.

Other major draws this year were the first chance to see highlights from the Galloway Hoard, Britain's biggest single discovery of Viking treasures,.

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The museum also staged a hugely-popular exhibition of Eyptian treasures featuring a mummy shroud more than 2000 years old, which was rediscovered in the museum's collection after 80 years.

Bosses at the Victorian attraction in Edinburgh say visitor numbers are now running at almost three times the level they were before a multi-million pound overhaul of the attraction began a decade ago.

Hundreds of thousands of extra visitors have been attracted to the museum since new art, science, fashion, design and technology galleries opened in the summer of 2016.

The National Museum leapfrogged Edinburgh Castle to become Scotland’s last year after attracting 1,810,947 visitors, 16 per cent up on 2015.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, director of the museum, said: “Welcoming over two million visitors in a calendar year for the first time in our history is a huge achievement.

“Through the efforts of our staff, the creativity of our design teams and the support of many funders, we have been able to create a truly world-class museum.

“Since opening 10 award winning new galleries of art, design, fashion, science and technology last summer, we’ve had terrific feedback from our visitors, whether they are from Scotland or many countries across the world.”