Around £700,000 of funding has been announced to help museums and galleries which have felt the serious impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
An urgent response fund open for applications from Wednesday with many independent venues left at risk after social distancing restrictions were introduced across the country.
Museums Galleries Scotland has suspended regular funding programmes until further notice to allow for flexibility during the uncertainty brought by the covid-19 outbreak.
The majority of the fund, £400,000, will support accredited, independent museums that care for recognised collections with the remaining £300,000 being allocated to non-recognised collections.
Lucy Casot, chief executive of Museums Galleries Scotland said: “The unprecedented situation caused by covid-19 has far-reaching implications for Scotland’s museums and galleries.
“The timing is hitting particularly hard as the Easter season is a major and vital income generator for many, and the funding from the Scottish Government will be a welcome lifeline to those who need it at this time.
She added: “We ask all of Scotland’s museums to keep us informed of the impact of covid-19 on their organisations so we can continue to respond in this evolving situation.”
A further £55,000 of capital funding has been made available to all museums to purchase the necessary equipment to work from home and help museums provide digital access to collections and activity.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “On average each year, Scotland’s museums and galleries welcome 25 million visitors through their doors from all parts of Scotland and beyond.
“Whilst it is disappointing that they have had to close during the Covid-19 crisis, it is the right thing to do to help stop the spread of the virus and save lives.
“Today’s announcement of £700,000 reaffirms the Scottish Government’s commitment to the sector and will enable Museums Galleries Scotland to offer valuable and much needed assistance to help local independent museums get through these turbulent times.”