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Museums and galleries enjoy visitor surge

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Museums and galleries enjoy visitor surge

VISITS to council-run museums and art galleries in the Nithsdale area nearly tripled last year, according to the latest figures.

However, while each venue has welcomed the return of visitors following covid shutdowns the previous year, overall numbers are still below pre-pandemic levels.

Between April 1 and September 30, 2022, there were 32,703 visits to council-run museums and galleries in Nithsdale and 1662 in-person usages of their collections (such as enquiries and attendances at talks and events), making 34,936 visits and usages in total. This was a 263 percent increase compared to the same period in 2021, but was still only 46 percent of the same half-year period in 2019.

The stats are revealed in a six month assessment report due to be tabled at Nithsdale area committee next Wednesday. It reads: “This reflects the national trend of slow return to pre-covid attendance levels in the context of the cost of living crisis, and possibly also the fact that the popular Camera Obscura at Dumfries Museum remained closed until the summer when adequate ventilation for this small space was restored. During the period there were 7930 admissions to the cinema at the Robert Burns Centre, just over twice the admissions for the same period in 2021, and 15.76 percent less than 2019.”

The same report also confirmed that 83 farms were visited by council officers to ensure legal compliance in their trading activities. Meanwhile, 79 new small and medium sized businesses in the area were given advice by trading standards and environmental health officers to support their business activities.

The council’s neighbourhood services reported that festivals and events which took place between April 1 and September 30, 2022, were a success. These events included the UK National Road Cycling Championships in May 2022, with the time trials taking place at the Crichton and in and around Bankend, Caerlaverock and Glencaple. The Galloway Off Road Motorsports Festival at Drumlanrig, The Scottish National Sheep Dog Trials near Thornhill, the Wild Goose Festival and Music at the Multiverse at Crawick Multiverse were also fully delivered

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