Pillaging pirates on rampage for high-spirited family fun

Think you know museums? Think again! Forget all the cliches of dusty glass cases and think whisky tasting, dancing and cocktails, not to mention meeting Romans, Vikings, Picts or maybe even a few Victorians.

Because all this and more is on offer across Scotland during the Festival of Museums, a three-day event which celebrates the sheer variety and excellence of our museums.

Now in its 11th year, the annual celebration of the magic of heritage, science and history runs from Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 21.

Its aim is to get people into museums, so the packed programme hopes to spark imaginations and inspire visitors to find out more about their heritage.

This year it’s bigger than ever before, with 25 per cent more events being held compared to last year.

Joanne Orr, chief executive Museums Galleries Scotland, said: “We host the festival to give museums and galleries, big and small alike, the opportunity to do something special – to showcase their collections in unique and creative ways.

“This year is no exception.

“The action-packed weekend will give visitors an opportunity to celebrate culture, discover history and learn something new, as well as have some fun!

“We want to ignite imaginations and encourage people to explore Scotland’s incredible museums and galleries.”

In Glasgow the gang plank will come down to welcome visitors and locals on board the Tall Ship, The Glenlee, this Friday from 7pm to midnight for a liquid treasure hunt and an evening of whisky tasting with Glengoyne Distillery

Advance booking is required so if you would like to get on board the Glenlee – built on the River Clyde in 1896 – book in advance by calling 0141 3573699 or info@thetallship.com. Tickets are £20.

The ship has a rich history of its own – she has been a cargo ship, a naval training ship and is now a key Glagow visitor attraction.

The Glenlee is one of only five of her kind still afloat in the world today and the only one in the UK.

Nicola Johnston, learning and access officer at the Riverside Museum in Glasgow, said: “We decided to launch our pirate themes event to coincide with Festival of Museums.

“Our pirate exhibition will be part of a larger programme that will run until July. We felt using this event would generate more interest for our attraction.

The tall ship whisky tasting evening will feature a treasure hunt for grown-ups and once they have completed it, they will receive a prize – a whisky tasting from Glengoyne Distillery below decks.

The ticket will entitle those taking part to have a drink on arrival, followed by an informal guided tour/treasure hunt and tutored whisky tasting with canapés, live music and DJ, pirate-themed photo booth and bar games.

There will also be a bar providing standard drinks and original Tall Ship cocktails available to buy throughout the night.

All participants must be over 18 years old.

Those not usually interested in whisky can sample cocktails instead of drams during the whisky tasting sessions.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. On Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm the pirate theme will continue with a family fun day on board with a recreation of a pirate sword fight provided by the battle reenactments group Piratical Union of Buccaneers Corsairs and Associated Trades (PUBCAT).

Youngsters and adults alike will also get the opportunity to see real parrots and have fun with face painting and art work.

Nicola added: “The Festival of Museums is a great way of attracting people to something they would probably not normally attend.“