MORE THAN 800,000 visitors have flocked to the new award-winning V&A museum in Dundee in its first year – 300,000 more than the original estimate of half a million.

The 62.5% increase means the estimated economic benefit for Scotland is likely to be much higher than the predicted £23m which was forecast to support 604 full-time equivalent jobs.

In Dundee alone the economic impact of Scotland’s first design museum was expected to be £10.3m, supporting 178 full-time equivalent jobs.

Work is underway to calculate the actual economic impact of the building which celebrates its first birthday today.

One of the largest cultural projects in Scotland for many years, it sits at the centre of the Dundee waterfront, an ambitious 30-year, £1bn regeneration project which began in 2001.

Designed by renowned architect Kengo Kuma, V&A Dundee has begun to receive awards for its architecture, including the Wallpaper* design award for Best New Public Building.

The museum’s creation has generated interest across the world, featuring on National Geographic Magazine’s Cool List this year as well as the front cover of TIME Magazine as one of the world’s Greatest Places of 2019.

The National: V&A Dundee: interior

More publicity has come from hosting the filming of BBC Antiques Roadshow, and the announcement of the National Television Awards shortlist. It was used as a filming location for HBO television series Succession, starring Brian Cox, but for fans of Scotland’s “other national drink”, its biggest claim to fame was appearing in an IRN-BRU Snowman advert.

Other key achievements in the first year include attracting a total of 27,000 people to events marking the museum’s opening. More than 8000 memberships have been sold, giving over 20,000 people free access to major exhibitions and other benefits and more than 26,000 people have taken part in learning events, talks and workshops with over 4000 school pupils visiting the museum, supported by a free travel programme.

Since opening, V&A Dundee has attracted 93,331 followers across its social media platforms while its website has had over 1.5 million unique page views. The films of its architecture, museum objects and community projects have been watched online over one million times.

As well as publishing the first book on the history of Scottish design, the museum has also hosted two major exhibitions and four exhibitions in the Michelin Design Gallery showcasing new Scottish design creativity.

In addition, the museum contributed to a £16m boost in the value of Dundee tourism in 2018, which at £187m already exceeds the city’s target for 2020.

The research by Ekosgen and Reference Economics also found that the construction of V&A Dundee had an economic impact of £35.8m in Dundee, generating total employment of 501 year-long jobs. Across Scotland, those figures rose to an economic impact of £70.4m and employment of 981 year-long jobs.

“The last 12 months have been remarkable and I can hardly believe all that’s been achieved in that time,” said museum director Philip Long. “As well as welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors and putting on world-class exhibitions championing Scottish and international design, the museum has really become part of the city, and for that I’d like to thank everyone for their support.

“We’re very proud of the contribution we have already made to Dundee and Scotland, and the opportunities we are generating for our nation’s creative talent, such as our current exhibition of work by the brilliant young fashion designer Nicholas Daley. We look forward to welcoming many more visitors to our upcoming major exhibitions Hello, Robot and Mary Quant.”

Tim Allan, chair of the V&A Dundee board, added: “V&A Dundee has already proven itself to be a major new international attraction, bringing tourists from around the world to Dundee to spend time and money, supporting local businesses. In turn, this is already encouraging new investment and job creation.”

According to the most recent figures, the museum has welcomed 36% of its visitors from Dundee and Tayside, 41% from elsewhere in Scotland, 14% from the rest of the UK and 9% from the rest of the world. For 41% of visitors, V&A Dundee was the sole reason they were visiting the city.

Visitors from abroad have come from countries such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and the United States.

“V&A Dundee has helped to boost the international profile of our city, encouraging people to visit this amazing new museum and our other well-established attractions,” said Dundee City Council leader Councillor John Alexander.

“The city’s partners have a long-term vision to create local jobs and opportunities through investment in top-class facilities like V&A Dundee.’’

Over the next 12 months, the museum will be the first in the UK to host Hello, Robot. Design Between Human and Machine, an exhibition challenging assumptions about robots and investigating how they are shaping the world.

It begins on November 2 and will be followed by Mary Quant from April 4, 2020, and Night Fever: Designing Club Culture from October 31, 2020.