A north-east transport museum is planning for the future as it gears up to host a Museum Muster.
The Grampian Transport Museum in Alford had an exciting season planned for its opening earlier this year, before the coronavirus pandemic meant that sites had to close.
Now that it is re-open, it has made significant changes in order to welcome the public, including new signage which has proved a hit with kids, and online technology.
It has also been awarded the nationally recognised Good to Go accreditation for visitor safety.
However, the charity has had to cancel all of its events due to the pandemic and has lost a significant number of its usual visitors.
Next month, the museum will be holding an autumn Museum Muster, where it is hoped the tickets for the museum will sell out.
The Grampian Transport Museum will host the muster, which invites vehicles to park at the arena in a social distanced way so owners can enjoy the museum, while also showcasing their interesting vehicles.
Curator Mike Ward said: “We were getting ready to re-open. This museum has the highest rate of seasonal change of any museum in Scotland, we change more of what we do in the five months we are closed because the subject matter lends itself to that because you can physically wheel things in and out.
“So we were really looking forward to 2020, we had written a new marketing strategy called 2020 vision, but I’m now saying to people we didn’t see this coming!
“Then we got locked down. I have to say that the government furlough scheme was a lifesaver. We’re a registered charity, we’re 100% self-financing but like all diligent charities, we have an emergency fund so we were able to call on that.
“We finally got open on the 23rd July, we invested quite a bit of resource into putting in safe systems. But what you see now is a much-restricted visit.”
Although visitors can still view all the exhibits within the museum, people are no longer allowed to sit inside the vehicles under coronavirus regulations.
The museum will be working on the premise that next year will be the same layout to this year, with any positive changes on this welcomed.
Mike said hopes for the future include starting small with easy events.
He said: “If our museum muster works, we’ll run that as a model and roll that out.
“Our friends in the National Road Museum in Beauly have actually managed to grow their visitor numbers. They’ve taken the museum muster idea and extended it to everybody. So they’ll say ok on Tuesday, everyone come who has a Volkswagen. So people pay full whack but they park up next to all the other Volkswagens.
“We’re just going to develop ideas like that, really simple bargain basement ideas working within the rules, things we feel we can actually do.
“Until we can run activities and really get back on the pony in that respect we’re never going to be busy here. But we will be okay, we have a huge body of support behind us in the local community and the old car community.
“We will survive, but it’s like having our wings clipped.”
For more details on Museum Muster and to book tickets for the museum, visit www.gtm.org.uk