Mission and Objectives

Our Purpose

The purpose of the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) as set out in the governing legislation (the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985) is to:

  • care for, preserve and add to the objects in our collections;
  • ensure that the objects are exhibited to the public;
  • ensure that the objects are available to persons seeking to inspect them in connection with study or research; and generally to promote the public’s enjoyment and understanding of the Fine Arts;
  • and for those purposes to provide education, instruction and advice and to carry out research.

The National Galleries of Scotland look after one of the world’s finest collections of Western art ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day. These holdings include the national collection of Scottish art which we are proud to display in an international context.

Our Mission

The National Galleries of Scotland cares for, develops, researches and displays the national collection of Scottish and international art and, with a lively and innovative programme of activities, exhibitions, education and publications, aims to engage, inform and inspire the broadest possible public.

Our Vision

  • To be an ambitious, international institution that inspires national pride, loyalty and affection.
  • To develop a sense of ownership and to increase access and participation by the public in Scotland, the UK and abroad.
  • To be an organisation with enjoyment, creativity and learning at its heart.

Our Values

Excellence: A commitment to quality in all areas of our activity and our services

Innovation: NGS will lead rather than follow

Inspiration: A commitment to learning and education is central to the NGS

Service: NGS is a welcoming and accessible institution

Creativity: NGS nurtures talent and invests in people

Integrity: NGS is open, transparent and dedicated to public service

These values define the way we work. NGS is committed to the pursuit of excellence in all its activities and services and is equally dedicated to ensuring that our collections and knowledge are accessible to as wide a public as possible. We respect tradition and are proud of our history, but value creativity and innovation in our efforts to improve our service to the public.

National Performance Framework

The Scottish Government’s Purpose:

To focus government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.

The creation of a successful economy has been established as the key priority for Scottish Government.  The NGS is a flagship for art and culture in Scotland.  The breadth and quality of the collection is exceptional, acting as a driver to encourage tourism and additional spend.  This in turn enables NGS to attract major exhibitions and loans, contributing to Scotland’s international reputation and profile.

NGS supports the realisation of the Government’s objectives through its contribution to education; by developing innovation and creativity in Scotland; through strengthening the cultural profile and national identity.

Priorities and Objectives

Our priorities are aligned with the wider policies and strategies established by Scottish Government.

We have set out three key priorities:

Priority 1

To increase access, encourage participation and promote learning.

The NGS is successful in attracting large audiences from home and abroad to our sites in Edinburgh and we want to sustain and develop this. Key to achieving this will be our strategy to open the collections up to a wider public and to develop a greater sense of ownership and participation in the national collections, not just in Edinburgh, but right across Scotland.

The concept of a Gallery without walls is crucial to our approach, embracing the notion of a collection which is accessible both in the traditional art gallery context and through other means both physical and virtual. NGS will continue its initiatives to share the collection with audiences across Scotland, as exemplified by the ARTIST ROOMS project.  We will develop existing partnerships with national and regional bodies (including for example Culture, Sport Glasgow) to create new opportunities for the public to access great works of art. We will also continue to seek ways to engage new audiences through our education and outreach programmes and via the internet.

Objective 1.1
Sustain existing and develop new audiences.

Objective 1.2
Develop and promote opportunities for learning and creativity.

Objective 1.3
Develop new ways of ensuring a first-class visitor experience.

Objective 1.4
Promote equal access to the collection.

Relevant Scottish Government National Outcomes:

Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.

Our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to local people’s needs.

Priority 2

To use the national collection to inform and inspire the public and to encourage artistic excellence, innovation and creativity.

NGS houses one of the greatest art collections to be found anywhere in Europe. We will continue to develop these collections and to use them as the foundation for an imaginative public programme. Using the model of a Gallery without walls we aim to make the collection available to as wide a public as possible, through displays and exhibitions in Scotland and abroad, through the internet, through education and outreach activity.

Objective 2.1
To nurture and add to our world-class collections of Scottish and international art and photography.

Objective 2.2
Place the permanent collection at the centre of an innovative and imaginative public programme of exhibitions and educational activities.

Objective 2.3
To raise the national and international profile of NGS through sharing the collections and partnership activity.

Relevant Scottish Government National Outcomes:

We take pride in a strong, fair and inclusive national identity.

We are better educated, more skilled and more successful, renowned for our research and innovation.

Priority 3

To develop a sustainable and efficient business model to support our aims and ensure long-term viability.

In order to deliver on the aims and objectives outlined throughout this Plan, we need to ensure that we have a stable and sustainable funding platform from which a skilled, diverse and motivated workforce can operate.  This includes establishing an organisation structure which can most effectively support the collection and secure it for the enjoyment of future generations, taking into account the environmental impact of what we do.

Objective 3.1
Improve NGS infrastructure to minimise our impact on the environment.

Objective 3.2
Achieve financial security and resilience in a volatile and uncertain economic climate.

Objective 3.3
Create an optimal organisational structure with sufficient and appropriate staffing and skills levels.

Objective 3.4
Ensure the best possible protection for the collection.

Objective 3.5
Develop philanthropic support.

Relevant Scottish Government National Outcomes:

We reduce the local and global environmental impact of our consumption and production.