SCOTTISH university museums are to be made more accessible to the public thanks to £3.6 million of new funding.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Minister for Higher Education, said the financial support recognised the importance of the collections to the nation as well as their institutions.

During a visit to Glasgow School of Art she said: "These collections represent a resource of outstanding scholarly, educational and cultural importance.

"Our funding will support projects across nine Scottish universities to enhance the public accessibility of their museums and galleries and help build on existing community engagement and outreach work.”

John Kemp, interim chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said the "significant investment" would support museums’ ambition for the future in areas such as digital technology.

Jacky MacBeath, convenor of University Museums in Scotland, added: “This is fantastic news. This grant will support innovative work in university museums, from local inclusion programmes to international engagement projects.”

University museums look after over two million items which account for around 18 per cent of Scotland’s national collection.

They include works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh at the Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow University's Hunterian Gallery, a collection of musical instruments at Edinburgh University and historic scientific instruments at St Andrews.