Shetland Museum and Archives could be open to the public again on Thursday 16th July.
The museum closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and would reopen with a new booking system and measures in place to maintain social distancing.
Shetland Amenity Trust announced today that the potential opening next week would be the “perfect time for locals to rediscover Shetland’s heritage” but subject to approval from trustees and the SIC.
The trust is also “working hard” on a phased reopening of Sumburgh Head and its lighthouse and camping bod accommodation, hoping to announce details of this soon.
However, the Crofthouse Museum will stay shut due to social distancing not currently being possible at the historic building, which is likely to “remain closed for the remainder of the season”.
Sandy Middleton, head of engagement at the trust, said: “When people visit the Museum and Archives they want it to be an interesting and enjoyable experience.
“The risks associated with the pandemic mean that people are now vigilant about so many things we took for granted before, particularly how close they are to one another and how clean everything is.
“We have been working hard to review best practice from around the world and implement government guidelines for our sector.”
Visitors will be asked to book online or by phone before going to the museum, which remains free, with timed tickets allowing social distancing.
The museum’s galleries have been split into zones with a one-way system in place.
An indoor picnic area has been created with limited, socially distanced tables due to the cafe being closed – people only paying a visit to the museum shop will be allowed in at any time.
Without the usual crowds of tourists, this is the perfect time for locals to rediscover Shetland’s heritage in their own five star museum.
Full risk assessments and building checks have been completed and cleaning and sanitation procedures have been stepped up, according to the trust.
Visitors will be encouraged to use hand sanitiser at regular intervals during their visit and asked to wear face coverings.
Ms Middleton added: “Even if the ‘two metre rule’ is relaxed, we will stick to two metres as best practice – we want people to feel safe and to have a natural flow through the site whilst ensuring people can enjoy all we have to offer.
“The ticket system means that there are no crowds around display cases and galleries so the whole experience should be pleasant and relaxed.
“We are also developing a variety of activities specifically for our younger visitors and encouraging people to bring a picnic with them.
“Without the usual crowds of tourists, this is the perfect time for locals to rediscover Shetland’s heritage in their own five star museum.”
The trust is also working towards a ‘We’re Good to Go’ accreditation – a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark developed by VisitBritain and VisitScotland – and hope to receive confirmation of the award before opening.